Notorious RBG

Irin Carmon , Shana Knizhnik

Notorious RBG



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Notorious RBG is the biography of the most popular judge in American history, Ruth Bader Ginsburg: an extraordinary woman, who decided to embark on a legal career to make the world a better place. She fought against descrimination to affirm equal rights for everyone, teaching new generations the value of dissent. Her own life was relatively sobre and low-key, yet she inadvertently conquered the hearts of the sceptical millennials, and became a pop icon. She was the example of a truly independent woman, who was brave, and capable of mediating, as well as expressing her own dissent, depending on the specific cause she was supporting in trying to achieve equality for her country and everyone in it. 

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Analysis and key concepts


Ruth Bader was a passionate young reader whose mother taught her an important lesson: get a good degree instead of a good catch


University, marriage and the first impact with the working world: a hostile place for women


Studying and pursuing a career while raising a family


Her time in Sweden showed her that a world in which men and women are free of gender roles is possible


Her voluntary role with the American Civil Liberties Union was her first important victory at the Supreme Court


RGB’s strategy: changing the law one case at a time and helping people understand that gender equality benefits everyone, not just women


Her nomination as Supreme Court Judge: RBG was the second woman in history to fulfil this role


The Supreme Court leans towards the right and a period of dissent begins for RBG


2013: the year in which Ruth Bader Ginsburg became the Notorious RBG




Take-home message

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Many useful tips to:

  • Discover the biography of a woman who dedicated her life to creating a fairer and more equitable society.
  • Appreciate that carefully laid and gradually implemented plans can help accomplish revolutionary goals.
  • Understand how an old Supreme Court judge became a pop icon.
  • Help recognise that gender equality has positive effects for everyone, both women and men.

Irin Carmon is an Israeli-American journalist and commentator, who currently works as a senior correspondent at New York Magazine. Born in Israel and raised in Long Island, she has a degree in literature from Harvard University. Previously, she was a national reporter at MSNBC and NBC News; and her work has appeared on major digital media and platforms. Carmon often deals with topics related to women’s rights and leadership. In 2011 she was included among Forbes magazine’s 30 under 30 top talents in the media.

Shana Knizhnik is a lawyer and a writer from Philadelphia. In June 2013, while she was studying law at New York University, she started the blog Notorious R.B.G., which rapidly became immensely popular, and attracted a furore of media attention. In 2016, Knizhnik was also included in Forbes’ top 30 under 30 media talents.

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