Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is the subject of an extensive New York Times Magazine profile this week in which she discusses "the place of women on the court." At her confirmation hearings in 1993, Ginsburg said she hoped to see at least three or four women seated on the court after her. As she still waits for even one woman to join her, Ginsburg has noticed that she is judged differently than her male counterparts. She recounts one example:
"Once Justice O’Connor was questioning counsel at oral argument. I thought she was done, so I asked a question, and Sandra said: 'Just a minute, I’m not finished.' So I apologized to her and she said, 'It’s OK, Ruth.' The guys do it to each other all the time, they step on each other’s questions. And then there appeared an item in USA Today, and the headline was something like 'Rude Ruth Interrupts Sandra.'"
By simply interrupting a fellow woman Ginsburg was soon portrayed as rude or aggressive, while the same assertive characteristic in a man goes unnoticed. The justice's little anecdote reminds us that sometimes women face different standards in the workplace. Have you ever come across this?