Gender Equality and the Law

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Gender Equality and the Law

One of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s primary goals of the Women’s Rights Project’s litigation was to prove that stereotypical treatment of gender under the law was unconstitutional. It was Ginsburg’s goal to make the Court realize that “the law’s differential treatment of men and women, rationalized as reflecting “natural” differences between the sexes, historically had tended to contribute to women’s subordination” (Ginsburg 11). Ginsburg carefully selected cases which she felt would produce the greatest results. To do this, she “pursue(d) a series of cases that illuminate(d) the most common instances of gender distinctions in the law (Ginsburg 14). In three cases, Reed v. Reed, Frontiero v. Richardson, and Craig v. Boren, Ginsburg was successful in arguing that legal distinctions on the basis of sex qualified as suspect classifications. Therefore the state must show a compelling interest in its legislation, and “must demonstrate that the means are necessarily related to the ends sought to be achieved by the statue and are the least restrictive” (Mezey 16). Today, it is debatable whether women are equal to men in the eyes of the law. However, without the Women’s Rights Project’s litigation of the nineteen seventies, women would be remain subjected to stereotypical legal treatment and thus would still be regulated to an inferior status of citizenship.

The first case in which the Supreme Court invalidated a law which discriminated on the basis of sex became extremely important because it set the president to which many future opinions would refer. Reed v. Reed, 1971, Ginsburg argued that Sally Reed was denied equal protection which should have been protected by the Fourteenth Amendment, when her husband wa...

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...udes by stating in it’s opinion for Goesart v. Cleary 1948, that “Michigan could, beyond question, forbid all women from working behind a bar” (Goldstein 102 ). However, in 1976 the Supreme Court “refused to approve laws which were based on archaic and overbroad generalizations or on old notions of role typing” (Mezey 19). Clearly, great strides have been taken towards anti stereotypical legislation, in roughly a quarter of a century. Legal equality for women is in large part due to the Women’s Rights Project’s litigation of the nineteen seventies and the legal genius of Ruth Bader Ginsburg who made the Court scrutinize sex Discrimination cases much more closely. The result is that the Supreme Court must “test policies and practices by asking whether they integrally contribute to the maintenance of an underclass or a deprived position because of gender” (Ginsburg 20).
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