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

Legal Progress

Legal Progress

More From Sandra Day

In this video

O'Connor marvels at the incredible progress made by women in the workplace, and in workplace law, in her lifetime.

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

Pamela Rief
Pamela Rief
Biomechanics Educator

Pamela Rief is a biomechanics education specialist, trainer, and the Co-Founder of the Strengthen Up Project. The project's mission is to educate people on biomechanics habits ...

Carol Gilligan
Carol Gilligan
Groundbreaking Psychologist

Carol Gilligan is a revolutionary psychologist and writer. She has authored many books and papers including her landmark work, In A Different Voice: Psychological Theory and Women&...

Geraldine Ferraro
Geraldine Ferraro
Vice-Presidential Nominee

The daughter of first-generation Italian American immigrants, Ferraro (1935-2011) would later remember her mother’s fierce insistence that her talented daughter continue her ...

Malika Saada Saar
Malika Saada Saar
Human Rights for Girls

Malika Saada Saar is a Washington-based advocate for women and girls’ rights. She is the Executive Director of the Human Rights Project for Girls, a new effort focused on the...