Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sandra Day O'Connor on Life and the Supreme Court

Some of nation's most influential women gather at Women's Conference in Calif.

ByABC News
October 26, 2010, 6:50 PM

Oct. 26, 2010— -- Some of the most influential women in the nation shared their life experiences and tried to find new ways to tackle the world's problems today, speaking at a gathering of some 30,000 people in Long Beach, Calif.

Women -- and some men -- from politics, the press, entertainment, and everything in between appeared for the annual Women's Conference, hosted by California First Lady Maria Shriver and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Watch "World News with Diane Sawyer" on ABC for more.

On stage during the conference, ABC's Diane Sawyer interviewed two trailblazers -- Sandra Day O'Connor, the first woman to serve as a Supreme Court Justice; and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who joined O'Connor on the court twelve years later. With the appointments of Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, four women have now served on the court, with three currently on the bench.

"I've got to tell you, I went to the Supreme Court recently... I sat in on an argument, and I looked up at the bench on which I sat for 25 years, and what did I see?" O'Connor said. "I saw on the far right, a woman. On the far left side, a woman. And here in the middle, a woman. And it was dazzling."

"It's the first time the public can see we're really there. Really there to stay," Ginsburg said.

"How many women would be enough?" Sawyer asked.

"Nine," Ginsburg replied with a smile. "There've been nine men there for a long time, right? So why not nine women?"

The justices told Sawyer not only about their experiences on the high court but also of their early struggles in the workplace and the challenge of raising families while pursuing their careers.

"The world was so different. I was at Harvard Law School for my first two years. There were two buildings with classrooms. Only one of them had a women's bathroom," Ginsburg said.

"I always knew that I wanted to work," O'Connor said. "My husband-to-be, John, knew that too, and he accepted it at a time when many women did not... John was just fabulous and very supportive."

Ginsburg said her husband, Marty Ginsburg, became a "super chef" over the years.

"He said that my cooking was responsible," she quipped.