Newsletter

Stay up to date with the latest from MAKERS delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for new stories from trailblazing women, a big dose of inspiration, and exclusive MAKERS content.

Newsletter Confirmation

Thank you for joining! Please check your inbox for our special welcome letter
with exclusive updates from MAKERS.

MAKERS Moment

First State Majority Leader

First State Majority Leader

More From Sandra Day

In this video

After only her first official run for office, O'Connor made legislative history.

Sandra Day's Biography

Cause of Choice: iCivics.org
Life on a Ranch: Her early years were spent on the family cattle ranch, in an adobe house with no running water, electricity or indoor plumbing.
The Way It Was: She was one of only three female students when she attended Stanford Law School.
Life Goal: "Work at work worth doing."

Sandra Day O’Connor is the daughter of ranchers—and, equally, of the land on the New Mexico-Arizona border that she and her family worked during the Great Depression. She would later recall ranch life as being formative in the simplicity, independence, and pragmatism demanded by the desert. O’Connor lived her father’s dream by earning a BA and a law degree at Stanford before marrying and starting a family.
 
Turned down by law firms who refused to hire women, she embarked on a distinguished prosecutorial career that led her to the Arizona Court of Appeals and, in 1981, to her appointment as the first woman ever to sit on the United States Supreme Court. O’Connor received more than 60,000 letters during her first year as an Associate Justice, but shied from public attention and expressed relief when she was joined on the bench by Ruth Bader Ginsburg in 1993. No longer its sole woman, O'Connor nonetheless played a powerful role on the Court: she was famous for often casting the pivotal vote in narrowly decided cases. Since her 2006 retirement, O’Connor has protected her beloved Court from without, as a vocal critic of “nakedly partisan” attacks on the independent judiciary. 

Related Videos

Indra Nooyi
Indra Nooyi
Chairman and CEO, PepsiCo

Indra Nooyi has led PepsiCo’s global strategy for over a decade. In 2013, she was named the third most powerful woman in business by Fortune. Seven years running, she’s...

Emily May
Emily May
Harassment Avenger

Emily May is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of New York City-based Hollaback!, an organization which empowers women and LGBTQ folks with an empowered response to street hara...

Eleanor Holmes Norton
Eleanor Holmes Norton
U.S. Congresswoman, District of Columbia

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, now in her twelfth term as the Congresswoman for the District of Columbia, knew from a young age she wanted to make change to end the severe se...

Faith Ringgold
Faith Ringgold
Artist & Activist

Faith Ringgold is one of America’s most gifted and generous visual storytellers. Though originally trained as a painter, she has worked to superb effect across media. Ringgol...