Scholar, feminist and famous judicial dissenter, the Honorable Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg — better known to her fans as the “Notorious RBG” – is almost certainly the only Supreme Court justice to have inspired a line of toys, T-shirts and even Halloween costumes. Beneath the frivolity, however, the real Justice Ginsburg, who celebrates her 86th birthday on March 15, shines as one of the most powerful, progressive and influential women in America today, and stands as an inspiration to all who would speak out for their beliefs.
Born into poverty in rural Mississippi and raised on welfare in a poor urban neighborhood, Oprah Winfrey – “The Queen of All Media” – became a millionaire at the age of 32, and the world’s first black woman billionaire at the age of 49. In 2014, Winfrey’s net worth surpassed $2.9 billion, making her the richest self-made woman in America. Her business acumen is legendary, but no more so than her philanthropy: at 65, she has reportedly given nearly a half-billion dollars to educational, cultural and humanitarian causes, including $10 million for disaster relief following Hurricane Katrina.
To anyone aspiring to a long, healthy and fulfilling life – and who doesn’t? — activist, competitive ballroom dancer and American yoga master Tao Porchan-Lynch is an inspiration. Now 101, the world’s oldest yoga teacher (according to the Guinness Book of World Records) still starts each day with a smile. “Every morning I wake up and say this is going to be the best day of my life,” she has said. “And it is.”
Award-winning actress, comedian and author, Betty White manifests the mantra, “Do what you love, and love what you do.” Stretching back almost 80 years, White’s television career is the longest of any female entertainer in the business. Her first TV appearance was in 1939; by 1952, she had become one of the first women in television to wield creative control both behind and in front of the camera. Having recently celebrated her 97th birthday, White is still going strong. “Retirement is not in my vocabulary,” she once told USA Today. “They aren’t going to get rid of me that way.”
Judson has a hometown connection with author, speaker and recognized authority on women’s fitness, Joan Pagano. Joan, 73, a Cleveland native, is a living example of exercise’s power to moderate the effects of aging. Armed with more than 40 years of expertise, Joan is a tireless proponent of the benefits of exercise and strength training in facing such issues as menopause, osteoporosis and breast cancer. Her clarity and compassion shine through in her blog, books and videos, and make leading an active lifestyle seem achievable at all ages. Joan’s mother, Irene Pekoc was a long-time resident at Judson Manor.
Women from all walks of life inspire us. This International Women’s Day, we challenge you to think of some inspirational women in your life!