In honor of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s passing last week, the PCMC would like to acknowledge her impact on the Canal Zone. In 1973, PCC budget analyst June Stevenson took the Panama Canal Company to court due to unequal employee benefits for women and men. Federally employed Canal Zone women whose spouses were privately employed were denied benefits such as eligibility for housing and free schooling for their children. Ruth Bader Ginsburg served as Stevenson’s attorney and won the case in 1978.
Stevenson’s daughter, Lori Snow, summarizes:
“June A. Stevenson worked originally with a local lawyer who advised her to seek council from the courts of New Orleans once she encountered major pushback from the administrators of the Panama Canal. It was even suggested that my Mom divorce my Dad so she could drop the case and get all the privileges. But through my parents’ efforts, they persevered and sought the council of a New Orleans Lawyer, Ruth Bader Ginsberg. The rest, as you now know, is history. Following the battle to win the original case, June went on to sue for years of paying tuition, rents in Panama and all other benefits lost, she went on to win the case. There are still women that benefited alive to share their success.”
What do you remember about Stevenson v. Castles or the subsequent effects of the case?