Sharing her own #MeToo experience, 84-year-old U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg told a crowd at the Sundance Film Festival on Sunday that “it’s about time” women speak up about sexual harassment.
“For so long, women were silent,” Ginsburg said at a Park City, Utah, forum for a new documentary about her life and path to the highest court in the land.
She surprised the audience by speaking of her own experience with sexual harassment back when she was a college student at Cornell University in the 1950s. She said her chemistry professor tried to make an inappropriate pass at her.
“Every woman of my vintage knows what sexual harassment is, although we didn’t have a name for it,” she said. “My instructor said …’I’ll give you a practice exam.’ And I knew exactly what he wanted in return. And that’s just one of many examples.”
But Ginsburg said she didn’t let the instructor get away with his overture.
“I went to (the instructor’s) office and said, ‘How dare you? How dare you?’ And that was the end of it,” she said.
Ginsburg, who will turn 85 in March, said she was encouraged by what she saw at the Women’s Marches across the country and globe this past weekend. “When I see women appearing every place in numbers, I’m less worried than I might have been 20 years ago,” she said.
“I think it’s about time,” she added.
When asked by interviewer Nina Totenberg, the award-winning NPR legal correspondent, if she was worried about a backlash for speaking up about sexual harassment, Ginsburg said, “Let’s see where it goes. So far it’s been great.”