In celebration of the 47th anniversary of Title IX, Senator Mazie Hirono and Representative Doris Matsui have introduced the Patsy T. Mink and Louise M. Slaughter Gender Equity in Education Act of 2019, S. 1964 and H.R. 3513.

This 2019 version of the initial 2016 Gender Equity Education Act, (GEEA) honors former Congresswoman Patsy T. Mink (D-HI) who was a key author of the 1972 Title IX that prohibits sex discrimination in education programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance. Patsy Mink also authored the former Women’s Educational Equity Act of 1974 (WEEA) that provided US Department of Education funding for innovative education programs to help implement Title IX from 1976 to 2006.  Along with Senator Hirono, Representative Louise Slaughter (D-NY) co-sponsored the 2016, and 2017 versions of GEEA before she died.

While both WEEA and GEEA were designed to facilitate the implementation of Title IX to prohibit sex discrimination in all education levels and topics, GEEA addresses needed infrastructure support from the US Department of Education and other agencies on the important roles of Title IX Coordinators in state education agencies, school districts, pre-K-12 schools, postsecondary and other institutions that receive federal support for education programs and activities.

The GEEA of 2019 has many important purposes and features to fully implement Title IX and promote gender equity in education. In highlighting the need to increase general awareness about the rights and obligations of individuals and entities covered by Title IX, GEEA attends to ending sex discrimination based on multiple characteristics in addition to sex or gender such as race, ethnicity, national origin, disability status, religion, age, or actual or perceived sex (including sexual orientation or gender identity).

A major way that GEEA focuses on improving the U.S. gender equity infrastructure is to provide for the identification, coordination, training, technical assistance, and support of  over 100,000 Title IX Coordinators at all levels of education from State Education Agencies to pre K-12 local schools and postsecondary institutions who cover all topic areas from athletics and academics to ending sex-based harassment and violence.

GEEA features include the establishment of an Office for Gender Equity in the U.S. Department of Education which will coordinate with other relevant Federal offices and agencies. The Office Director will report directly to the Secretary of Education and support research, development, and dissemination activities focusing on best practices to implement Title IX.  For example, this GEEA office is to establish a Gender Equity Resource Center Website and related dissemination activities. GEEA also calls for the revival of previous Title IX provisions for Title IX Compliance Self-Evaluations to guide Title IX training and the use of best practices to identify and prevent implicit and explicit sex discrimination in all areas of education. GEEA also calls for a report to Congress every two years on the success in accomplishing the purposes of the Gender Equity Education Act.

However, the most well-funded part of the Office for Gender Equity is to be its Gender Equity Competitive Grants Program for eligible entities ranging from state education agencies to schools and national organizations with relevant gender equity expertise. There are also extensive annual evaluation requirements for the grants which in total are to receive no less than $70,000,000 each year of the $80,000,000 total annual GEEA authorization, each federal year year from 2020 to 2025.

 

Media Resources: Feminist Newswire 7/18/2016; Senator Hirono 6/25/19

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