Inside the love story so uniquely powerful it enabled true change in the world.

On The Basis of Sex
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True movie romance usually comes in the form of a prince rescuing a princess from an evil foe, but in reality, real love is at its best when two people tackle a lifetime of obstacles together and help each other achieve their dreams.

Luckily for all the true romantics out there, the brilliant new movie On The Basis of Sex highlights a love story just like this, exploring the life of revolutionary US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (played in the film by Academy Award nominee Felicity Jones) and her husband Martin Ginsburg (played by Armie Hammer).

It’s a hard task to condense Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s many achievements into a short CV.

After all, she is known as the leading and most prominent voice in the advancement of gender equality and women’s rights, winning multiple victories arguing before the Supreme Court. She is also only the second woman ever to serve in the Supreme Court and the very first woman of Jewish descent to do so.

Along with being the founder of The Women’s Rights Law Reporter, the first American law journal on gender equality issues, she wrote the first textbook on sex discrimination law in 1974. In addition to this, R.G.B, as she come to be known internationally, is also a best-selling author following the publication of her book My Own Words, which is a collection of Bader Ginsburg’s speeches and writings dating back to year eight of primary school.

On The Basis of Sex puts the spotlight on Ruth’s extraordinary life and the lesser-known love story that took place behind the scenes.

The story of Ruth and Martin Ginsburg is truly one for the ages, and different from any other story we’ve seen play out on the big screen.

Watch trailer: On The Basis of Sex (post continues after video)

Video by eOne

Ruth arrived at the Cornell University campus in 1950, and the formal story of how they met revolves around the ambitious pair being set up on a blind date.

Although, it was later revealed by the couple that the set-up was really only “blind” on one end as Marty, who was already a sophomore at the college, had coerced a mutual friend into setting him up with Ruth when she arrived as a freshman.

Speaking publicly later in their lives about how they fell in love, Ruth often stated that Martin was “the only young man I dated who cared that I had a brain”.


The couple were married in 1955 and then both enrolled in Harvard Law School, pursuing higher education as a team of equals whose career aspirations were treated with similar importance within their household.

At that time Ruth, who is now 85 years old, was one of only nine female students out of 552 in their class.

It was very much a time where women were expected to remain at home and be the primary domestic caretaker for the family, quietly supporting their husbands through their education and career aspirations.

During their college years and after the birth of their daughter Jane, Martin was diagnosed with testicular cancer. While caring for her sick husband through his extensive cancer treatments and taking care of their daughter, Ruth continued attending classes and taking notes for both her and her husband. She typed up Martin’s dictated papers for him. And, in another landmark achievement in an incredible career, she made the Harvard Law Review.

Through their domestic life and careers, Ruth and Martin set in motion a new form of romance, one that was not built on roses and romantic date nights, but tackling a series of obstacles together.

In the Bader-Ginsburg household, chores were divided equally between the couple. It was a practice they started during their early years of marriage and while they were in college, and a practice that lasted through 56 years of marriage.

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her husband Martin Ginsburg. Source: Getty.

Throughout her career, Ruth said that Martin was always instrumental in helping her achieve new goals, especially since his male status would continually open doors for him that were shut to her.

"He always made me feel like I was better than I thought I was," she told Elle magazine in an interview.


However, despite graduating first in her class at Columbia Law, Ruth couldn’t get a job as a lawyer.

She had been berated publicly in college for "taking a man's spot" and no-one was willing to hire a woman in any of the roles she applied for following her triumphant graduation. She went on to be the first woman to teach at Rutgers Law School, where the dean helpfully explained to her that because her husband made a good living, it was unnecessary to pay her what her male colleagues were making for doing the same job.

Then, in 1970, Martin, who was working as a tax lawyer, came across a case that he felt had the potential to dismantle gender-based discrimination (this case actually acts as a catalyst for some of the most powerful scenes in On The Basis of Sex). He and Ruth joined forces to launch a constitutional revolution.

Despite the pressure it would have put on their own family, Martin knew his wife had the intellect and experience to make her the best person for the job. It would turn out to be the case that truly launched Ruth’s career.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg during her confirmation as US Supreme Court Justice in 1993 with then US President Bill Clinton. Image: J. DAVID AKE/AFP/Getty Images.

"Marty was an extraordinary person. And he was always — well, making me feel that I was better than I thought I was. So we went to law school. And he told everybody, all of his friends, and he was one year ahead of me, his wife was gonna be on the Law Review," she said on The Rachel Maddow Show.

After she became a Supreme Court Justice in 1993, Martin's support of his wife's career continued to grow and on his deathbed in 2010, he left Ruth a note which read in part: “I have admired and loved you since the day we first met at Cornell some 56 years ago.”

The relationship between Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Martin Ginsburg was not just revolutionary because of the way they banished the idea of sex discrimination from their marriage, but because of the way they also changed the world for others.

On The Basis of Sex

Felicity Jones and Armie Hammer star in ON THE BASIS OF SEX, the inspiring true story of Ruth Bader Ginsberg, a spirited, extraordinary woman who brought a case before the US supreme court in 1965 that would overturn more than a century of gender discrimination. See where her story began in this stirring drama, featuring a career-best performance by Felicity Jones.

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