When Ruth Bader Ginsburg began her career as an attorney, America's courtrooms and law firms were virtually all-male preserves. Female attorneys were a rarity, female judges were almost unheard of, and in many states women were routinely dismissed from jury duty.
As one of the few women studying at Harvard Law School in the 1950s, Ruth Bader Ginsburg was asked to justify taking a place in the class that could be filled by a man. Despite her outstanding academic record, law firms refused to hire her, and a justice of the U.S. Supreme Court would not employ her as his clerk solely because of her sex.
Despite these obstacles, she became one of the nation's foremost legal scholars and a highly effective advocate for the equality of the sexes. She argued a series of historic cases before the Supreme Court, establishing the equal citizenship rights of men and women. Since 1993, she herself has sat on the nation's highest court, ruling on the issues of constitutional law that define the rights of all Americans.