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Good role models

Qian Julie Wang decided that she would become a lawyer. An avid reader, Wang explains, “I had come upon and gulped down condensed biographies of Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Thurgood Marshall. Ruth and Thurgood showed me that lawyers didn’t have to be men, and they didn’t have to be white.” Wang, author of Beautiful Country, […]

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The perfect affirmative-action baby

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor says that she is “a product of affirmative action. I am the perfect affirmative action baby. I am Puerto Rican, born and raised in the south Bronx. My test scores were not comparable to my colleagues at Princeton and Yale. Not so far off so that I wasn’t able to […]

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Defining your worth

“I do know one thing about me: I don’t measure myself by others’ expectations or let others define my worth,” says Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

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No need to apologize

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor says that she has no need to apologize. The “look-wider, search-more affirmative action” that Princeton and Yale practiced opened doors for her. “That was its purpose,” she explains, “to create the conditions whereby students from disadvantaged backgrounds could be brought to the starting line of a race many were unaware […]

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Great period

The cover of the book Great Women Painters includes these three words—great women painters, but a colorful line crosses out the word women. “The title of this book states its mission,” writes Marissa Moss in a review in The New York Times. “By including the descriptor women, but crossing it out, claim is clearly made: […]

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Great women painters

Linda Nochlin, an art historian, once asked, “Why have there been no great women painters?” Marissa Moss, writing in The New York Times, says Nochlin and the book Great Women Painters answer the question in the same way—“by showing us a range of brilliant, talented women painters. “Because the answer is that there have always […]

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Prostitution and pornography

In 2011, after Manal Al-Sharif was went to prison for driving in Saudi Arabia, the country’s highest religious council presented a report warning of the dire consequences if women were allowed to drive. Prostitution, pornography, homosexuality and divorce would “surge,” they declared. What’s more, “within 10 years, there would be no more virgins” in Saudi […]

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Daring to drive

It was 2011 when Manal Al-Sharif dared to drive. A woman driving wasn’t illegal in Saudi Arabia. One scholar Al Albani even suggested that in Muhammad’s time women could ride a donkey; so, why not drive a car? However, women driving was considered by many to be an assault on the country’s patriarchal culture. They […]

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Don’t be afraid

“Don’t be afraid,” says Naguib Mahfouz. “Fear won’t prevent death; it prevents life.” I found this quote in Manal Al-Sharif’s book Daring to Drive. –Joy

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We showed up

Nina Totenberg explains her friendship with Ruth Bader Ginsburg in her book Dinners with Ruth. “What we shared was the special warmth and closeness of longtime friendship. We were present in each other’s lives, especially when it mattered most. We showed up,” Totenberg says.

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