If Your Child's School Only Calls Moms, You MUST Try Ruth Bader Ginsburg's Clapback


Working mother on the phone


Nicole Sheinzok via Working Mother
Nicole Sheinzok via Working Mother
July 21, 2024 at 2:1PM UTC

It’s a problem working moms know all too well: You’re in the middle of something important at work when you suddenly get a call from your child’s school or daycare. Sometimes your kids are sick and it's time to pick them up, or sometimes the teachers want to talk about a behavior problem. We don’t blame teachers for calling if it’s important, but we have noticed one troubling trend: They only contact mothers.

It turns out even Supreme Court Justices have struggled with the issue. In an interview with NPRJustice Ruth Bader Ginsburg described her response to those dreaded phone calls—and it's an inspiration to us all.
Before she was appointed to the Supreme Court, Ginsburg was a working mom balancing her heavy workload with family life. At the time she was litigating cases in front of the Supreme Court, teaching at Columbia University and founding the ACLU Women’s Rights Project.
On top of all of those responsibilities, she would frequently get calls about her son James from his teachers. "The child was what his teachers called 'hyperactive' and I called 'lively,’” she explained.
After staying up all night writing a legal brief, Ginsburg received a school call at her Columbia office and decided to finally let the teacher know that she wasn’t the only one who was responsible for her son. "This child has two parents,” she said. “Please alternate calls. It's his father's turn.”
Sure enough, the school called her husband Marty, and he went to the school to handle the situation.
According to Ginsburg, the teachers at the time were hesitant to interrupt fathers. “The reason was they had to think long and hard before asking a man to take time out of his work day to come to the school," she said.
What makes her response so great is that it's direct and 100 percent true. There is no reason for teachers not to alternate between two working parents.

This article originally appeared on Working Mother.

Why women love us:

  • Daily articles on career topics
  • Jobs at companies dedicated to hiring more women
  • Advice and support from an authentic community
  • Events that help you level up in your career
  • Free membership, always