Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg shared her own #MeToo story on Sunday, January 21, at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.
“Every woman of my vintage knows what sexual harassment is, although we didn’t have a name for it. The attitude toward sexual harassment was simply, get past it. Boys will be boys,” the 84-year-old told the audience at a panel hosted by NPR’s Nina Totenberg. Ginsburg then shared an incident that occurred in the 1950s when she was a student at Cornell University.
“I am taking a chemistry course at Cornell and my instructor said, because I was uncertain about my ability, he said, ‘I’ll give you a practice exam.’ So he gave me a practice exam. The next day, the test is the practice exam, and I knew exactly what he wanted in return,” the Justice revealed.
Later, Ginsburg went to see the professor and gave him a piece of her mind. “I went to his office and I said, ‘How dare you?’ How dare you?’” she recalled.
During the Q&A, Ginsburg also spoke about the sexism she encountered as a young professor at Rutger’s Law School. When Ginsburg asked the dean how much a male colleague — with the same amount of experience — was being paid, he replied, “‘Ruth, he has a wife and two children to support. You have a husband with a good paying job in New York.”
Ginsburg went on to co-found the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project in 1972 and has spent her career fighting for other marginalized groups.
“I think it’s about time,” Ginsburg told Totenberg of the #MeToo movement. “For so long, women were silent thinking there was nothing you do about it, but now the law is on the side of women, or men, who encounter harassment and that’s a good thing.”
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