“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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Photo credit: WFULawSchool via Visual hunt / CC BY-NC-ND

“The problem the WRP faced in connecting pregnancy to their line of sex-discrimination was this…”

“The problem the WRP faced in connecting pregnancy to their line of sex-discrimination was this: Even if a man could take care of the kids and the elders, and a woman could join the air force and handle the family finances, only one of them could get pregnant and give birth. RBG and her team had to convince the justices that pregnancy too was a matter of equality—or inequality—and not just something special that women indulged in, off on their own. Even more radically, RBG wanted the Supreme Court to recognize that women would never be equal if they could not control their reproductive lives, whether they wanted to be pregnant or not. That meant the right to an abortion, and it meant the right to be free of discrimination for staying pregnant.”

Notorious RBG by Irin Carmon & Shana Knizhnik

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Photo credit: national museum of american history via VisualHunt / CC BY-NC

“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