Nadine Taub, Early Leader in Women’s Rights Law, Dies at 77

“Remember the days when some Princeton University eating clubs excluded women?” he continued. “Gone, despite powerful opposition, thanks to Nadine’s work over many years. Is a hostile work environment illegal sex discrimination? Judge Herbert Stern of the U.S. District Court didn’t think so. Nor, initially, did other courts. But Nadine got Judge Stern’s decision reversed and made the hostile work environment a principal part of sex discrimination law.”

Nadine Taub was born on Jan. 21, 1943, in Princeton, N.J. Her father, Abraham Haskell Taub, was a professor of mathematics who had taught at several universities and was working temporarily in Princeton at the time. Her mother, Cecilia (Vaslow) Taub, was a homemaker.

In addition to her husband, Mr. Widlund, who is also a mathematician — mathematicians often marry the daughters of mathematicians, he said — Ms. Taub is survived by her sister, Mara Taub, and her brother, Haskell.

Ms. Taub earned a B.A. in economics from Swarthmore College in 1964, and during the summers worked as a Head Start teacher in Mississippi. After graduating from Yale Law School in 1968, she provided legal services for the poor in the Bronx and then for the A.C.L.U., working out of a storefront in Newark. She joined the faculty of Rutgers Law School in 1973 and retired in 2000.

Ms. Taub was the co-author of several books and publications on women’s rights and gender discrimination, including “Sex Discrimination and the Law: History, Practice and Theory” (1988).

She said her feminist thinking crystallized early in her career while she was working on a challenge to a statute restricting abortion. “In the process of putting on paper why control over reproduction was crucial for women,” she said in the Savvy magazine article, “I really began to perceive all the ways women were confined and punished because of their reproductive functions.”

Not all of Ms. Taub’s clients were women. In 1977, she was one of three lawyers who won a discrimination case for Leon Goldfarb, a widower who had sued to receive his deceased wife’s Social Security benefits. In the brief for the suit, Ms. Taub was joined by Kathleen Peratis and the future Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, both from the Women’s Rights Project at the A.C.L.U. (Justice Ginsburg was then a professor at Columbia Law School.)

As Mr. Goldfarb told Anna Quindlen of The New York Times, “These ladies presented their cases beautifully.”