What Do Ruth Bader Ginsburg, A Marriage of Equals and COVID 19 Have In Common?


Justice Ginsburg spent her life building a world in which women and men were on equal footing, at home, in their personal relationships, and well beyond.  

With the Covid 19 pandemic alive and well, and no end in sight, the battle for gender equality and women’s independence that Ginsburg fought so hard for is, sadly, under real threat.

In short, the pandemic is uniquely affecting women by calling on them to put their jobs and careers on hold or to be forced out of the workplace in order to prioritize the unpaid home-based labor required of them.  Overwhelmingly, women are likely to be essential workers and health care providers on the front lines. Women are suffering the most physical, verbal and sexual violence during lockdown.

In sum, despite Ginsburg’s painstaking efforts to include men in the domestic sphere, caregiving duties remain largely viewed as the primary responsibility of women.  Women are considered the point person and are more likely to feel the brunt of the Covid 19 pandemic than men.

Ruth and Marty Ginsburg – An Epic and Egalitarian Marriage To Emulate

I am quite confident that Justice Ginsburg would support the idea that in order for women to achieve full equality outside of the home, men have to take on their fair share inside the home.

Why am I so confident?  Because she and her beloved husband, Marty, created an egalitarian partnership and a fresh look at love and marriage that we can learn from. By all accounts, theirs was truly a joint venture.  On many occasions, she stated that it was only because of Marty’s support that she was able to raise two children, graduate at the top of her law school class, gain a seat on the Supreme Court, navigate two bouts of cancer, and all the while facing the same discrimination she spent her career dismantling.

In an opinion piece on life advice written for The New York Times in 2016, Ginsburg wrote, “I have had more than a little bit of luck in life, but nothing equals in magnitude my marriage to Martin D. Ginsburg. I do not have words adequate to describe my supersmart, exuberant, ever-loving spouse.”

A Relationship Of Equals Is Critical To Surviving The Pandemic Successfully

The data from a survey on telecommuting during the pandemic conducted by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago finds that women feel more stress and depression and are spending more time on child care, homeschooling and housework than men.

If we are to survive Covid 19 successfully, it is urgent that we reverse this relationship imbalance.  

How can we do this?  By maximizing our strength as egalitarian partners.

As a relationship expert, the model of partnership I favor is one I created call Yours, Mine, Ours: Relationships Done Right. It looks like this:

The essential core of a relationship of equals is one in which power is shared. Each person is equally valued and equally respected, and there is flexibility and crossover in roles. Both people agree that the way to strengthen the “We” is to become better individuals with a personal growth orientation. Ongoing negotiation is a must.

“I’m sorry.’
“I really messed up.”
“You’re right; I’m wrong.”
“Am I missing anything?”
“I don’t know. What do you think?”

Ruth Bader Ginsburg would want us to continue during the pandemic battling down the road of equality that she trailblazed. As couples, we all need to show up.

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