On Account of Sex: Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the Making of Gender Equality Law
This session of the WHS is sponsored by the American Historical Association.
Long before she was “Notorious,” RBG was an attorney arguing and winning gender equality cases before the Supreme Court. Dr. Strum contends that RBG’s greatest contribution came not as a jurist but in persuading the Justices of the 1970s, whom RBG described as needing a grade school-level education about sex discrimination, to rethink stereotypes about the proper roles for men and women and declare sex discrimination to be unconstitutional. Her pathbreaking approach to the law could not be more relevant today.
Philippa Strum is the former Wilson Center Director for U.S. Studies, and Emerita Professor at City University of New York. Her books include Louis Dembitz Brandeis (1984), nominated for a Pulitzer Prize; When the Nazis Came to Skokie (1999); and Women in the Barracks: (2002), about RBG’s most important Supreme Court gender equality opinion. A frequent lecturer at home and abroad, she is also the recipient of a prize for scholarly writing about the Supreme Court, presented by then-Chief Justice William Rehnquist.
The Washington History Seminar is co-chaired by Eric Arnesen (George Washington University) and Christian Ostermann (Woodrow Wilson Center) and is organized jointly by the American Historical Association and the Woodrow Wilson Center's History and Public Policy Program. It meets weekly during the academic year. The seminar thanks its anonymous individual donors and institutional partner (the George Washington University History Department) for their continued support.
Christian F. Ostermann
Woodrow Wilson Center
Professor of History, The George Washington University. Director, National History Center of the American Historical Association.
Elizabeth Tandy Shermer
History and Public Policy Program
The History and Public Policy Program makes public the primary source record of 20th and 21st century international history from repositories around the world, facilitates scholarship based on those records, and uses these materials to provide context for classroom, public, and policy debates on global affairs. Read more
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