Women's History Month: Focus on Billie Jean King and Ruth Bader Ginsburg
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Women’s History Month: The lives of Billie Jean King and Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Women's History Month, Billie Jean King, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, icons, GOLDLAW, law, sports,

Billie Jean King

Born Billie Jean Moffitt in Long Beach, California, on November 22. 1943, Billie Jean King would go on to change the landscape of women’s sports forever. Raised in a traditional, but athletic household, – her brother Randy Moffitt would go on to pitch for 12 seasons in Major League Baseball – she displayed raw talent in multiple sports. At age 13, she decided she would become the “best tennis player in the world.” This passion would ignite a lifelong trajectory as a force to be reckoned with, both on and off the court.

Billie Jean King is universally celebrated as one of the greatest tennis players in history, but her legacy goes far beyond her Hall of Fame career on the court. She is renowned as a tireless crusader, leading the fight for equality in sports and beyond. Here is a closer look at some of her greatest accomplishments as GOLDLAW continues to honor Women’s History Month:

1. The “Battle of the Sexes”

In 1973, King faced off against former male champion Bobby Riggs, in a televised spectacle dubbed the “Battle of the Sexes.” Her victory in this highly publicized match was a watershed moment. It struck a huge blow against the deeply ingrained sexism of the sporting world and society at large.

2. Founder of the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA)

King was instrumental in establishing the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA). The WTA provided a platform for professional female tennis players to achieve recognition, earn fair compensation, and build a sustainable future within the sport.

3. Champion of Title IX

Title IX, a landmark piece of legislation prohibiting sex-based discrimination in educational institutions receiving federal funding, was a cause close to King’s heart. She lobbied tirelessly for its passage in 1972, transforming opportunities for female athletes across the United States.

4. Pioneer for LGBTQ+ Rights

After being publicly outed in 1981, King became one of the first prominent openly gay athletes. She embraced her role as a pioneer for visibility and equality for the LGBTQ+ community within sports and beyond.

5. Unwavering Advocate for Social Justice

Throughout her life, King has stood at the forefront of social justice movements. She vocally champions equal pay, race equality, and continues to break down barriers that seek to restrict women and marginalized groups.

Billie Jean King transcends the tennis arena. Her impact on the world is undeniable. Because of her relentless activism, sportswomen of today enjoy opportunities their predecessors only dreamed of. She smashed stereotypes and refused to accept limitations imposed by society, More importantly, her courage extended far beyond the tennis court, creating societal change and inspiring generations. She’s a phenomenal representative for Women’s History Month.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Ruth Bader was born in Brooklyn, New York, on March 15, 1933. She rose from humble roots to etch her name in the annals of American legal history. Motivated by her mother’s encouragement of education, she graduated from Cornell University before enrolling at Harvard Law School. After marrying and having a child, she transferred to Columbia, where she earned her LLB in 1959, after graduating first in her class. Her upbringing shaped her future as an advocate, and allowing Ginsburg to become one of the most iconic figures in the history of the United States Supreme Court. She was appointed to the high court by President Bill Clinton in 1993, and became a champion for not only women’s rights, but for the rights of all marginalized groups during her 27 years on the bench. Here’s a closer look at some of her greatest achievements as GOLDLAW recognizes Women’s History Month:

1. Co-Founder of the Women’s Rights Project

In 1972, as a law professor at Columbia, Ginsburg co-founded the Women’s Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and became the organizations General Counsel in 1973. This project became a powerhouse for legal challenges against gender discrimination, transforming the legal landscape at the time.

2. Pioneering Litigator for Gender Equality

Before her appointment to the Supreme Court, Ginsburg’s strategic litigation reshaped American jurisprudence. She argued six landmark gender discrimination cases before the high court, winning five, significantly eroding societal and legal barriers faced by women.

3. Champion of Equality on Supreme Court

Appointed to the Supreme Court in 1993 by President Bill Clinton, Ginsburg became a powerful voice in crafting influential opinions that defended equal protection. Cases like United States v. Virginia, where she authored the majority opinion, struck down single-sex state-sponsored institutions.

4. The “Notorious RBG”

Ginsburg’s passionate dissents in cases she felt were unjust earned her status as a pop culture icon, and the nickname “Notorious RBG.” These often “spirited” dissents often served as a rallying cry for progressive rights across a range of issues.

5. Staunch Defender of Voting Rights

Ginsburg was a staunch advocate for voting rights and a vocal critic of attempts to suppress them. Her powerful dissent in the 2013 case Shelby County v. Holder case, where the court gutted key provisions of the Voting Rights Act, remains a powerful reminder of her dedication to protecting democracy for all.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a true embodiment of the values championed by Women’s History Month. She dedicated her life to ensuring that the principles of fairness and justice guaranteed by the Constitution truly applied regardless of gender, race, or social status. Her legacy has inspired generations to continue the fight for a society where every person has the opportunity to reach their full potential, unhindered by the prejudices of the past.