44 U. Cin. L. Rev. 1 (1975)
Gender and the Constitution

handle is hein.journals/ucinlr44 and id is 15 raw text is: UNIVERSITY OF
CINCINNATI LAW   REVIEW

VOLUME 44                         1975                              No. 1
GENDER AND THE CONSTITUTION*
Ruth Bader Ginsburg *
I. CONSTITUTIONAL ASPECTS OF THE SEx-ROLE DEBATE IN
THE UNITED STATES
The title for this discussion was selected with some care. Women's
rights seemed inappropriate since the issues explored concern men as much
as they do women. Sex and the Constitution takes in all of humanity,
but might conjure up images of the kind the Supreme Court has left to
'contemporary community standards.1 Gender, by contrast, has a neutral,
clinical tone that may ward off distracting associations.
Sex-role debate is an expression slowly gaining currency in the United
States. It originated in Sweden before popularization of the unfortunate
and misleading label women's lib. Sweden's Prime Minister, Olof Palme,
put it this way:
We have talked long enough about the emancipation of women, of the
problem of woman's role in society. But in order that women shall be
emancipated . . . men must also be emancipated.
[T]he aim must be that men and women should be given the same rights,
obligations and work assignments in society.
The greatest gain of increased equality between the sexes would be, of
course, that nobody should be forced into a predetermined role on account
of sex, but each person should be given better possibilities to develop his
or her personal talents.2
*This article is based on the Robert S. Marx lectures delivered by Professor
Ginsburg at the University of Cincinnati College of Law on November 18, 19, &
20, 1974.
**Professor of Law, Columbia University; General Counsel American Civil Liber-
ties Union; B.A., 1954, Cornell; LL.B., 1959, Columbia.
1. See Paris Adult Theater I v. Slaton, 413 U.S. 49 (1973).
2. Address by Olof Palme, Women's National Democratic Club, Washington D.C.,
June 8, 1970, in K. DAVIDSON, R. GINSBURG & H. KAY, TEXT, CASES AND MATERIALS
on SEX-BASED DISCRIMINATION 938-46 (1974) [hereinafter cited as DAVIDSON,
GINSBURG & KAY].

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