Ruth Bader Ginger? Let's Make it Happen

April 23, 2015

What does ice cream have to do with feminism? A lot, according to Yael Mazor-Garfinkle, an HBI internship alumna and the creator of a petition to create "Ruth Bader Ginger" ice cream. The petition — which has gained attention from sources such as TIME, Fox News, Bustle and The Daily Mail — has reached over 4,000 signatures. Fresh Ideas from HBI wanted to find out more about the petition, so we asked Yael to share her thoughts.

Q: What inspired you to start your petition?

Y: A few weeks ago, I read a BuzzFeed article which points out that Ben & Jerry's has named 20-plus flavors after people over the past 30 years, but only two of those honorees have been women. In response to that article, another author notes that perceptions of gender parity are generally skewed and that most people don’t notice the relative absence of women in popular culture. To change this mentality, she argues, we need Ruth Bader Ginger ice cream. "Ruth Bader Ginger?" I thought. The idea was too perfect — someone just needed to propose the idea to Ben & Jerry's. That’s when I decided to create the petition.

Q: Why did you decide to nominate Ruth Bader Ginsburg?

Y: Ruth Bader Ginsburg inspires me in so many ways. As the first Jewish woman to sit on the Supreme Court, Justice Ginsburg broke gender barriers from a young age. She graduated first in her class at Harvard Law and co-founded the ACLU's Women's Rights Project. She has dedicated her life to pursuing tzedek, and our country is better for it. As I wrote in my petition, I want Ben & Jerry's to recognize the contributions that women like Ruth Bader Ginsburg have made to make our nation great.

Q: Your petition rapidly grew from a few hundred signatures to over 4,000 in just a matter of days. How did you manage to spread the word?

Y: My professional background is in marketing. My first marketing "gig" was at HBI, interning with Lindsey Fieldman, former communications director. I developed a social media strategy to spread the word. I began by posting about the petition to close friends who would be interested, but I then expanded my reach by targeting Twitter users who are passionate about the same issues as Justice Ginsburg: women's rights, marriage equality, Judaism, etc. Justice Ginsburg has a lot of fans out there, so it wasn't so hard to rally them around the cause.

Q: Do you think the petition will work?

Y: I certainly hope so! The reason I chose to petition Ben & Jerry's is that they seemed like such an obvious fit for this kind of initiative. The brand is one, which has used its platform to promote social justice, including many of the same issues (i.e., marriage equality, keeping corporate money out of elections) Justice Ginsburg has defended in the Supreme Court. If Ben & Jerry's truly supports social justice, then it's time for the brand to prove it! Furthermore, the company already has a legacy of taking flavor suggestions from consumers. If fans can create Cherry Garcia, why not Ruth Bader Ginger?

Q: Have you heard anything back from Ben & Jerry's?

Y: A recent news clip from Burlington, Vermont, said that Ben & Jerry's is "aware" of the petition and in the process of preparing a statement. I haven't received it yet, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed! In the meantime, I'm focusing on gathering as many signatures as possible.

Yael Mazor-Garfinkle is a marketing coach at the MaidPro Franchise Corporation. She is a Brandeis University alumna (BA, 2008) and received her graduate degree in integrated marketing communication from Emerson College in 2014. Yael currently lives in Melrose, Massachusetts, with her husband.