Russia, economic anxiety, James Comey — pundits have dissected a number of factors that could have shaped the 2016 presidential election. If you ask Ruth Bader Ginsburg, though, sexism certainly shouldn’t be left off that list.
The Supreme Court justice — the second woman to have ever held that title — sat down with CBS News’ Charlie Rose on Sept. 26, to chat about a number of hot-button issues in American culture and politics.
When the conversation turned to the 2016 election, Rose asked if sexism played a role in the outcome. “I have no doubt that it did,” Ginsburg answered to cheers.
Clinton — the first woman to represent a major political party on the ballot — won the popular vote but lost the electoral college to Trump — a man who bragged about sexually assaulting women and once suggested those who have abortions should be punished.
To some, Clinton’s loss was a devastating setback to women’s equality. But Ginsburg wants us to see the bigger picture.
Women have been breaking major barriers in recent decades, Ginsburg reminded Rose — especially in Congress.
While Trump won the presidential election, history was quietly made in the Senate last year, as a record-breaking 21 women won seats in their respective states. When Ginsburg joined the Supreme Court in 1993, that figure stood at six.
“To see the entrance of women into places where they were not there before is a hopeful sign,” the optimistic justice explained to Rose.
Notably, there are also more women of color in the Senate than ever before. Last year’s election saw Kamala Harris, Tammy Duckworth, and Catherine Cortez Masto pull off victories in California, Illinois, and Nevada — wins that quadrupled the number of female senators of color.
“I’m worried,” Ginsburg noted of the current direction the country seems to be headed, “but I’m encouraged by the number of people — especially young people — who are expressing themselves in opposition, reminding us of our most basic values: our freedom.”