Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznar
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Friday, September 10, 2010

Justice Ginsburg & Parenting

A great story about Justice Ginsburg’s parenting trials and tribulations:

From Slate:

After she finished reading her husband's charmingly funny speech, and while folks in the audience were still wiping away tears, Ginsburg sat down for a "fireside chat" with the chief justice of Canada, Beverley McLachlin, NPR's Nina Totenberg, and Robert Henry, the president of Oklahoma City University. (The woman sitting next to me whispered that the setup looked an awful lot like The View.) In response to a question about work-life balance, Ginsburg explained that in the early '70s, her son, "what I called a lively child but school psychologists called hyperactive," was forever in trouble and that she was constantly called in to his school, even though she and her husband both had full-time jobs.

"One day, I was particularly weary," she explained, and so when the school called, she said, "This child has two parents. I suggest you alternate calls, and it's his father's turn." She said calls from the school came much less frequently after that, because the school was "much less inclined to take a man away from his job."

Read the rest here.


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Great article, indeed. And an amazing woman.

I was startled by the debate this spring among women lawyers, sparked by Elena's Kagan's nomination to the Supreme Court, as to whether successful women had to 'choose' between career and family, or whether they could 'have it all'. And I was disturbed by comments that women of Justice Ginsberg's generation didn't face that choice because they dealt with 'lower expectations' vs. today's successful women who are now in their 50's, and who've had families later (or not at all).

I believe these high achievers have attained success on their own terms, making their own personal choices without having choices forced on them like some sort of Sword of Damocles. Statistical studies 'proving' that high-achieving women tend to be childless only prove (to me, anyway) that societal norms have changed in terms of women's roles in the professional world.


I'm wondering if you have weighed in on this subject.

Posted by: Terri | Sep 10, 2010 5:13:34 AM

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