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Hirono Introduces Legislation to Promote Title IX, Gender Equity in Education

Bill commemorates 45th anniversary of the Patsy Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act, or “Title IX”, being enacted

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Mazie K. Hirono introduced the Patsy T. Mink Gender Equity in Education Act (GEEA) (S.1421), which provides additional resources for schools, school districts, states, and institutions of higher education to fully implement the Patsy Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act (commonly referred to as “Title IX”). Senator Hirono’s bill marks the 45th anniversary of Title IX, which was signed into law on June 23, 1972.

“Since it was enacted in 1972, the Patsy Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act, or “Title IX”, has transformed the educational landscape in our country solidifying that sex-based discrimination has no place in our schools,” said Senator Hirono. “Forty-five years later, Title IX has opened doors for women and girls, and created the same opportunities for all students to learn. However, more work remains. This legislation further builds on Patsy’s legacy by providing additional resources to carry out Title IX’s mandate in education.”

Title IX is a federal law that prohibits gender-based discrimination in federally supported education programs and activities. GEEA would provide resources, training, and technical assistance to fully implement Title IX and reduce and prevent sex discrimination in all areas of education, by:

  • Establishing an Office of Gender Equity in the U.S. Department of Education to coordinate activities within the Department and among other federal agencies;
  • Combating discrimination, harassment, bias, and violence based on sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions;
  • Supporting Title IX coordinators with annual training;
  • Providing competitive grants to K-12 schools, institutions of higher education, local educational agencies, or states as the primary applicants, with the option to partner with organizations with relevant expertise;
  • Including evaluation and assessment of how applicants improve on indicators of gender equity; and
  • Disseminating resources and best practices nationwide.

The Patsy Mink Gender Equity in Education Act is cosponsored by Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.).

The bill is supported by the American Association of University Women (AAUW), Human Rights Campaign (HRC), National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity, National Women’s Law Center, Society of Women Engineers, Clearinghouse on Women’s Issues, Feminist Majority Foundation, Girls, Inc., National Organization for Women, National Women’s Political Caucus, and Stop Sexual Assault in Schools.

"The Patsy T. Mink Gender Equity in Education Act of 2017 provides critical resources, training, and technical assistance to support gender equity work in schools," said Anne Hedgepeth, interim vice president of government relations and public policy at AAUW. "By providing Title IX coordinators with the proper resources, training, independence, and authority to fully execute their responsibilities, we are taking the necessary steps to ensuring all students have equal access to education."

“The Gender Equity in Education Act is an important bill to help ensure protections for all students against discrimination in public schools,” said David Stacy, HRC Director of Government Affairs. “The bill provides additional training and resources to educators that would especially benefit LGBTQ youth who disproportionately experience harassment and violence in schools. All students deserve to be treated equally and have a fair chance to learn without fear of discrimination. We thank Senator Hirono for her leadership in reintroducing this important bill and will continue to work with Congress to root out all forms of discrimination in our schools.”

"Mahalo to Senator Hirono for carrying on Patsy Mink's mantel of fighting discrimination in our education systems," said Rosemary Scavuzzo, AAUW-Hawaii co-president. "AAUW-Hawaii has been on the front lines supporting gender equity in Hawaii schools and we know firsthand that Hawaii DOE needs additional resources in order to ensure Title IX coordinators know the full scope of their jobs. This legislation is a necessary step in making sure those resources get into the right hands and that our students' access to education is not obstructed."

Senator Hirono continues to support efforts that promote opportunities through equity in education. Earlier this week she was proud to cosponsor a resolution (S.Res.201) introduced by Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) recognizing the importance of Title IX in improving educational opportunities for women and girls, and working toward the elimination sex discrimination in education, including for LGBTQ and pregnant or parenting students.