Sundance documentary 'RBG' is a wonderful introduction to the US Supreme Court Justice who has long fought for gender equality [Review]

By YP cadet Daniel Chan

The 85-year-old is seen in the film as having no intention of quitting any time soon

By YP cadet Daniel Chan |

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Released in May this year, documentary RBG looks at the life of US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The film tracks her rise to a the top of America's justice system, examining her watertight legal arguments, and her work ethic.

“She would work until 1, 2, 3, 4 in the morning”, one of her children says in the film. She was known for working until everything was complete, going over every document one word at a time, and still getting to court before 9am every day.

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But she has also become something of a pop culture legend; her fans called her The Notorious R.B.G. (a nod to a famous rapper) which later became the title of a book on her life. Her popularity stems from her being the most hardworking person many people had ever known, and her endless fight for gender equality. As a lawyer, she took on cases in which women had been paid less than men; but to prove her fight was for gender equality, she also took a case where men were not allowed to claim benefits that women could after their spouses had died. Even though not everyone agreed with her, nearly everyone respected her as a lawyer and justice. 

The biggest support in her life was her husband, Martin Ginsburg to whom she was married for 56 years, until he died in 2010. When she was a young lawyer, the man in a family was seen as the “master of the house”, but in Bader Ginsburg's case, she and her husband agreed that her career was the more important. 

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She still has a close support network, some of whom have suggested in recent years that she might like to retire because of her age (she is 85), but she has said “I will back down only when I cannot do it anymore”. 

This is a really informative documentary, and portrays Bader Ginsburg asan inspiration to all. She has defied so many odds in her life, changed so many people’s views on gender equality, and achieved so much more. When she attended Harvard Law School, there were only nine females out of more than 500 students; in the film, her granddaughter says that it is now 50-50. This is a wonderful way to lear more about a woman who has been named one of the 100 Most Powerful Woman in the World and one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2009 and 2015 respectively.