Voices That Changed Our Thinking

The Power of the Spoken Word

Did you know that roughly 21 percent of adults in the United States or 43 million adults are either illiterate or functionally illiterate per the (NCES)


Being literate does not solely involve reading and writing... It also involves the ability to listen and to articulate information well enough to change the mind of another. 

 Most literate well rounded beings are adept at using the spoken word to paint vivid pictures that lead to changes in behavior. 

     

 Using Literacy to Influence others


Ruth Badar Ginsburg could be deemed a literate influencer. She was so literate and influential that she changed our nation for the good.

Ruth who was a Jewish female and mother used her literacy to fight against gender-biased discrimination.


What would be considered gender-biased discrimination?


Gender-biased discrimiantion occurs when men and women are treated differently because of their gender as opposed to the basis of their skills or capabilities. 


Being literate gave Ruth Badar the ammunition to create change for women. In 1956, she became one of nine women accepted to Harvard Law School.

Fancy this... the dean there had the audacity to ask the female students to justify why they should be there as opposed to men. This was a prime example of gender-bias discrimination.

Although Ruth finished top of her class, she still was not afforded a job upon graduating law school.

Ruth contributed this to gender-biased discrimination. Ruth said, "I struck out on three grounds: I was Jewish, a woman and a mother." This only fueled her.


Ruth went on to became a professor at Rutgers Law School and taught classes entailing both women and law. She was one of the first to do so.

Another astonishing accomplishment took place in 1971, she made her first successful argument before the Supreme Court. The Supreme court for the first time in history ruled against a law involving gender-based discrimination. 

Other accomplishments... she co-founded the Women's Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

She was also the ACLU's general counsel, and she went on to launch a series of gender-discrimination cases. She won five out of the six cases brought before the Supreme Court. YAY! What an accomplishment.

Being literate can help one accomplish many things including advocating for the rights of others. So let's keep her legacy alive by continuing to eradicate literacy. Let's help others learn to read, speak, listen and to articulate for a cause. Let's keep using our words like Ruth to change the unacceptable behaviors of others.


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