Irin Carmon: She Writes for Women’s Rights

September 26 - On The Dot
FIRST THOUGHT: Poetic Justice

Lauded Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg learned a lot from her mother, Celia Bader. One of Celia’s undertakings proves especially striking: At 15, Celia went to work in order to help her brother go to college, despite never being able to attend herself. Later, emboldened by her mother’s determination that she pursue a quality education, Ruth finished first in her class at Cornell University, and was one of only a handful of women in a class of more than 500 at Harvard Law School. Today, take this radical woman’s lead. Be fearless, be kind, be sassy and, perhaps most of all, be resolute in what you feel called to do.


It’s always awe-inspiring to learn about women who paved the way, particularly considering many of us take our hard-fought equality for granted these days. For instance, did you know that in the mid-1800s, groundbreaker Margaret Fuller accomplished the first of many history-making achievements? Recognized as the first American woman to become a full-time literary reviewer, Margaret joined the staff of the New York Tribune in 1844, later becoming the publication’s first female editor. Oh yeah, and earning a reputation as the best-read person in New England—male or female—Margaret was the very first woman allowed to use the library at Harvard College.

WOMAN TO WATCH: Irin Carmon, Journalist and Author

I discovered one of my absolute favorite journalists in 2011, when she was a writer for such publications as Salon and Jezebel. Her name is Irin Carmon, and chances are you’ve seen this literary powerhouse showing off her journalism cred as a national reporter for MSNBC and NBC News.

When The New York Times refers to a specific journalist as being “known for her smarts and feminist bona fides,” as it did about Irin, you know you ought to make the effort to dive deep into her work. Additionally, New York Magazine labeled Irin one of the faces of new feminism, and Forbes placed her on its 30 Under 30 in Media list.

In her writing, Irin explores complicated, contentious—and incredibly important—subjects, from reproductive rights to politics and law. Her remarkable ability to succinctly articulate on behalf of women and unrepentantly speak fundamental truths not commonly discussed in open forums truly make her stand apart in a world of buzz words, clickbait and fake news.

Irin graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University with highest honors in literature. Words are clearly her forte, (She even speaks four languages!) and she’s steadfastly carved out her career path one pithy word at a time.

One of Irin’s greatest accomplishments—the book Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg—sits in a place of honor on my coffee table. The term “Notorious RBG” is an affectionate nickname for the Supreme Court justice and a play on the name of a long-popular rapper. The nickname stems from a Tumblr created by Irin’s co-author, Shana Knizhnik, following RBG’s now famous public dissent in several anti-civil-rights decisions made by the court.

This amazing book is a millennial take on a biography, weaving together fascinating images of Ruth in just about every possible medium—from nail art and tattoo work to needlepoint—and incredible stories of the justice’s life and career. Seriously, y’all, it’s a must-read!

Thanks, Irin, for shining a light on society’s most important issues, and for thoughtfully authoring a one-of-a-kind book about a truly one-of-a-kind and historic lady.


Let’s adjourn with a quote from the Notorious RBG herself, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg:

“We should not be held back from pursuing our full talents, from contributing what we could contribute to the society because we fit into a certain mold, because we belong to a group that historically has been the object of discrimination.”

This is Melinda Garvey signing off until next time. Remember, ladies, empowered women empower other women. Share On the Dot so more women can have a voice. Thanks for getting ready with us.

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