The Women’s History Month March Madness contest enters the Semifinals this morning, with a match-up between Ruth Bader Ginsburg v. Eliza “Lyda” Burton Conley! You can vote by participating in our daily Twitter or Facebook poll, or by casting a vote at the Circulation Desk. Happy voting!
Ruth Bader Ginsburg-“Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.”
Ruth Bader Ginsburg was the only surviving child of two Jewish immigrants and her mother encouraged Justice Ginsburg’s education from a very young age. After marrying and giving birth to her first child, Justice Ginsburg enrolled at Harvard University, where she was immediately introduced to and discouraged by the male views of her gender in the legal profession. After experiencing many forms of gender discrimination personally, including being told she would be paid less as a law professor because she had a husband with a decent job, Justice Ginsburg became one of the most well-known advocates and legal researchers for women’s rights. She argued several times successfully to the all-male Supreme Court of the United States and her successes as a whole discouraged legislatures from treating women and men differently. After serving as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals, President Clinton appointed Justice Ginsburg as the second female justice on the Supreme Court and the first female Jewish Justice. Justice Ginsburg used her position to continue the fight for women’s rights, upholding the Roe v. Wade decision and criticizing any legislation or cases that limited the ability of women to make their own decisions.
Eliza “Lyda” Burton-“One hundred thousand dollars would be no inducement whatever in buying my consent to the desecration of the graves of my parents.”
Lyda Conley was the first Native American woman lawyer in the United States when she was admitted to the Missouri State Bar in 1902. She was a member of the Wyandot tribe and best known for her active defense of the Huron Place Cemetery in Kansas City, Kansas. The Cemetery was guaranteed by an 1855 treaty because it was the burial grounds for many Wyandot members but Congress approved the sale and removal of the bodies in the Cemetery for commercial use in 1906. Lyda filed suit to stop the sale and she and her sisters guarded the cemetery with weapons constantly. She took her case to the U.S Supreme Court, and was the first person to argue that the government owed protection to the burial grounds of Native Americans. Although the Court ruled against her, the land was never actually sold as there were no buyers willing to take it due to Lyda’s work to turn the public against the sale. Now the land is an historic landmark and Lyda herself is buried there.
Disclaimer: This is a friendly competition that is meant to increase awareness about some amazing women. The match ups were determined by a random outcome generator, and the winner will be determined based solely on the votes submitted by the participants. We are in no way seeking to pit one woman against each other in any inappropriate way, because each woman is inspiring in her own right.