There was an entire generation of women that were standing on her shoulders. Now, our foundation is shaken.
Women owe a debt of gratitude to Ruth Bader Ginsburg. And, now, even in our mourning we will re-pay that debt by championing causes, by participating in the society and democracy she fought for our place in.
When I heard the news of her death, a lump settled in my throat that I haven't quite shaken yet. I found myself scrambling to recall her every word of wisdom. She was the solution we threw at problems, she was the guidepost, the pillar. And whether we were ready or not we must forge ahead without her.
Though our nation's judicial branch should never been politicized, finding her replacement has been.
But her legacy is not one of partisan politics.
To put it simply, Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a leading force in securing women's rights to obtain a mortgage without a male co-signer, open a checking account without a male co-signer, start a business without a male co-signer, get a credit card without a male co-signer. She secured for women the right to obtain a job without gender-based discrimination, obtain employment while pregnant, obtain birth control without having to obtain a husband's permission.
She made it so women could not be forced to provide proof of sterilization to obtain employment. She secured, for women, pension benefits equal to male coworkers and she ensured that women would be given equal consideration to be executors of their children's estates.
She was small and soft-spoken; and she was a brilliant, powerful force.
She taught us that women belong in all places where decisions are being made. She inspired us to "fight for the things that you care about. But do it in a way that will lead others to join you."
She taught us that "real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time."
Ginsburg even gave us the wisdom to guide us through the loss of her: "I would like to be remembered as someone who used whatever talent she had to do her work to the very best of her ability."
She was honorable, notorious—a fierce defender of democracy.
And now that we are Ruth-less, we must all be ruthless in our pursuits for equity, equality, and justice.
Cydney Baron is the editor of the Claremore Progress.