Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI) has introduced the Patsy T. Mink Gender Equity in Education Act (GEEA) in the Senate; a companion bill by the same name was introduced in the House by Congresswoman Louise M. Slaughter (D-NY). The bill appropriates an $80 million increase in federal resources for schools, school districts, states and institutions of higher education to fully implement Title IX. The bill has the support of more than 25 equity organizations, including the Feminist Majority Foundation (FMF), the American Association for University Women (AAUW), the Hawaii Department of Education, and the Human Rights Campaign.
“The Patsy Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act transformed the educational landscape in our country with an idea that seems redundant today, but was profound at the time: that sex-based discrimination has no place in our schools,” said Senator Hirono. “Forty-four years later, Title IX has opened doors for girls and women from access to higher education to sports. But we have more work to do. This legislation builds on Patsy’s legacy by expanding resources to see Title IX’s mandate through.”
GEEA honors Congresswoman Patsy Mink (D-HI), a principle author of the 1972 Title IX legislation that guarantees that “no person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”
GEEA establishes an Office for Gender Equity in the U.S. Department of Education and requires that this Office disseminate resources and provide training to all Title IX Coordinators. The Office would also provide competitive grants to K-12 schools, institutions of higher education, local educational agencies, and states that have created plans to improve gender equity.
“Ensuring that all women are given the chance to succeed in life begins with giving them equal opportunities in the classroom,” said Congresswoman Slaughter. “This legislation will provide the targeted resources necessary to combat gender bias in education and help ensure the doors of opportunity are open for our sisters and our daughters.”
After 20 years of weakened federal support for Title IX implementation, GEEA provides hope for advocates and victims of sex and gender discrimination. This is timely legislation in context of new federally-funded analysis tools that provide the public with data concerning sex and gender discrimination on college campuses and in athletic programs.