In this photo, RBG stands in the middle, surrounded by a group of women in uniforms. Behind this photo, there is an exciting story-the woman in the photo, because of RBG, entered the coveted Virginia Military Academy.
The Virginia Military Institute (VMI, Virginia Military Institute) is a century-long military academy, where strict disciplines and harsh conditions have produced many outstanding officers. However, it is also a boys’ school.
In 1996, a high school girl wanted to study at VMI, but was rejected by the school because she only recruited boys. She therefore filed a lawsuit against Virginia, arguing that this admissions rule violates the constitutional principle of equality between men and women.
Virginia Military Academy
At that time, the opposing lawyer had long heard of Justice Ginsberg. By the 1990s, American society had already experienced many cases of gender discrimination. At this time, the phrase “women’s duty is to stay at home and not suitable for the military” The argument is outdated. The opposing lawyer came up with a more gentle defense strategy–“protective discrimination”, which is still common today。
The Virginia Military Academy claimed that enrolling female cadets would undermine its teaching goals, because this goal includes the use of “strike training methods” to train cadets, and this method is too harsh to be used to train women.
The college set up a botched imitation program in a sister school and called it the “Virginia Women’s Leadership Academy.” However, this college instilled gentle, feminine values.
“A military academy only enrolls men. It teaches the’male’ values that only men can learn, and it makes it clear that men can withstand harsh training and achieve success,” Federal Assistant Deputy Attorney General Paul Bender said in the debate.
As RBG has repeated many times in his career: “Women seem to be taken care of on a high platform, but when you look closely, they are locked in a cage disguised as a high platform.”
This is the first case concerning women’s rights that RBG has taken over since assuming the post of Supreme Court justice. The case was won and RBG was given the opportunity to write a judgment:
“A high school student wants to go to this military school. This case is not only about VMI, but also about the whole concept. You can’t exclude women just because of gender.”
Today, the girls in the photo have become scientists and engineers after being trained by VMI. In the end, they are all adapted to work at VMI.
Ginsberg understood that“anything that looks like a special treatment for women will eventually restrict them in turn.”