“Heading the list of arbitrary barriers that have plagued women seeking equal opportunity is…”

“Heading the list of arbitrary barriers that have plagued women seeking equal opportunity is disadvantaged treatment based on their unique childbearing function. Until very recent years, jurists have regarded any discrimination in the treatment of pregnant women and mothers as “benignly in their favor.” But in fact, restrictive rules, and particularly discharge for pregnancy rules, operate as “built-in headwinds” that drastically curtail women’s opportunities. Decisions of this Court that span a century have contributed to this anomaly: presumably well-meaning exaltation of woman’s unique role in bearing children has, in effect, restrained women from developing their individual talents and capacities and has impelled them to accept a dependent, subordinate status in society.”

Struck v. Secretary of Defense brief by Ruth Bader Ginsburg

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“Treating men and women differently under the law, RBG told the justices, implied…”

“Treating men and women differently under the law, RBG told the justices, implied a “judgment of inferiority.” It told women their work and their families were less valuable. “These distinctions have a common effect,” RBG said sternly. “They help keep woman in her place, a place inferior to that occupied by men in our society.”

Notorious RBG by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik

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Photo credit: WFULawSchool via Visualhunt / CC BY-NC-ND