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Hirono, Matsui Reintroduce Bicameral Bill to Boost Gender Equity in Education, Support Title IX

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii) and Congresswoman Doris Matsui (D-Calif.) reintroduced the bicameral Patsy T. Mink and Louise M. Slaughter Gender Equity in Education Act (GEEA), legislation that would provide additional resources, training, and technical assistance to combat harassment and discrimination in education.

“Trailblazers Patsy Mink and Louise Slaughter spent their careers demanding better opportunities for all Americans, regardless of their gender. This bill builds on their legacy by providing more funding to address sex-based harassment and discrimination in education,” Senator Hirono said. “On the 49th anniversary of Title IX’s enactment, Congress should act now to make sure that all students can learn in safe and supportive learning environments.”

“Patsy Mink and Louise Slaughter were tireless warriors for equality and continue to serve as our north star for expanding opportunity and eradicating discrimination on the basis of sex in schools everywhere. By fiercely advocating for Title IX, these champions ensured that future generations of women and girls would have the tools to pursue their passions and become the next generation of leaders,” Congresswoman Matsui said. “Their stories remind us that our work is rooted in history and is built upon the struggles, lessons, and success of our predecessors. Moving forward, it is our duty make sure that every child, regardless of gender, has the same opportunity to succeed. By introducing this legislation on the forty-ninth anniversary of Title IX, we honor and build on their legacy – continuing to fight against discrimination and ensuring our nation’s schools provide a just learning environment for all.”    

Senator Hirono and Congresswoman Matsui previously introduced the legislation in the 115th and 116th Congresses.

The Patsy T. Mink and Louise M. Slaughter Gender Equity in Education Act advances Title IX and promotes equity in education for students who face discrimination based on multiple characteristics including actual or perceived sex—including sex stereotypes; pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions; sexual orientation or gender identity; among other characteristics. To do so, the bill:

  • Creates a new Office for Gender Equity within the U.S. Department of Education to coordinate Title IX activities in the Department and throughout other federal agencies,
  • Funds competitive grants for K-12 schools, colleges and universities, states, school districts, and other educational organizations to boost Title IX compliance programs, and
  • Provides Title IX coordinators with annual trainings, information, and best practices about Title IX compliance.

“A cornerstone of women’s economic security is ensuring they have equal access to — and opportunity for — education,” Kim Churches, CEO, American Association of University Women said. “While we’ve made tremendous progress, we are still far from that ideal of fully eradicating bias and discrimination in schools, colleges and universities. On the 49th anniversary of the passage of Title IX, the best way to celebrate the many broken barriers is to improve and strengthen compliance with this vital law. AAUW thanks Senator Hirono and Representative Matsui for taking the important step of re-introducing the Patsy T. Mink and Louise M. Slaughter Gender Equity in Education Act, which would provide critical resources, training and technical assistance to help educational entities fully comply with Title IX. We are steadfast in our commitment to enacting this bill prior to next year’s golden anniversary of Title IX.”

“The Association of Title IX Administrators, on behalf of its 7,200 practitioner members, expresses its strong support for the GEEA,” Brett Sokolow, President of ATIXA said. “For decades, school and college-based Title IX administrators have worked diligently with the limited resources available to them to implement the aims of Title IX. ATIXA calls on Congress to pass the GEEA to provide Title IX administrators with the essential resources, training, and financial support needed to fully deliver on Title IX’s promise of sex and gender equity in education and thanks Sen. Hirono for championing the passage of this bill.”

“Thanks to Senator Mazie Hirono and Representative Doris Matsui for reintroducing the expanded GEEA,” Sue Klein, Education Equity Director, Feminist Majority Foundation said. “It has great potential for making a comprehensive and lasting impact on improving gender equity in and through education. Using existing legislation, GEEA should inspire the Education Department to establish an Office for Gender Equity and issue new guidance on the roles and responsibilities of Title IX Coordinators in a Title IX Gender Equity Infrastructure even before GEEA is passed.”

“Despite Title IX’s existence for nearly a half-century, federally-funded educational institutions across the country are still falling far short of affording a truly gender-equitable education to our nation’s students, including in co-curricular athletics programming,” Kim Turner, director and senior staff attorney, Fair Play for Girls in Sports, a project of nonprofit Legal Aid at Work said. “The Gender Equity in Education Act (GEEA) would go a long way to ensure Title IX coordinators and the institutions subject to Title IX can once and for all can properly understand and effectively apply Title IX requirements, such as affording gender-equitable athletic opportunities to all students to finally level the playing field for girls and young women. Access to equal sports opportunities for our female students is an integral part of affording a well-rounded, effective education, as girls and young women who play sports are healthier, graduate at higher rates, and go on to experience greater workplace success as adults. GEEA can be a key component to promoting educational equality and societal wellness for all.”

“The National Coalition for Women and Girls in Education (NCWGE) has been a longtime supporter of the Gender Equity in Education Act (GEEA) and its purposes and wants to thank Senator Mazie Hirono and Representative Doris Matsui and their staff for the bicameral reintroduction of GEEA to celebrate the 49th anniversary of Title IX on June 23, 2021,” Emily Martin, Chair of NCWGE said. “NCWGE is a nonprofit coalition established in 1975 with over 30 current national member organizations who work together to develop and monitor national education policies to advance gender equity in education. In its previous five-year report it recommended that ‘Congress should pass the Gender Equity in Education Act, which would create an Office for Gender Equity in the U.S. Department of Education and provide support for implementation of Title IX, including training of Title IX Coordinators.’ In its next five-year report, it looks forward to celebrating the expanded progress under a well-funded GEEA!”

“NWLC is grateful to Senator Hirono and Representative Matsui for their leadership in addressing sex discrimination in education by reintroducing the Patsy T. Mink and Louise M. Slaughter Gender Equity in Education Act (GEEA),” Shiwali Patel, Director of Justice for Student Survivors & Senior Counsel, National Women’s Law Center said. “Title IX became law on this day 49 years ago, and we celebrate the advances made in education to ensure that all students, including women and girls, have equal access to education. However, much remains to be done to eliminate sex discrimination and bias in schools, and GEEA brings us closer towards achieving this and creating equitable and welcoming school environments.”

“Girls' and women's access and opportunities in sport have come a long way since the passing of Title IX 49 years ago, and we still have a lot of work to do,” Deborah Antoine, Women's Sports Foundation CEO said. “The Patsy T. Mink and Louise M. Slaughter Gender Equity in Education Act will help girls and women, especially BIPOC girls and women, realize their full potential in sport by advancing Title IX compliance and education. The Women's Sports Foundation applauds Senator Hirono and Representative Matsui for reintroducing this bill and for their continued efforts in the fight for equity.”

“Despite the passage of Title IX, women and girls of color continue to experience barriers to education at higher rates when compared to their white counterparts,” Elisha Rhodes, Interim CEO and Chief Operating Officer at YWCA USA said. “If we truly intend to achieve equity in education, we must continue to provide resources and technical assistance that will center the impacts and experiences faced by women and girls of color. That begins with passage of the Gender Equity in Education Act (GEEA). This bill provides educational entities with additional support to ensure Title IX coordinators fully understand their roles and schools full comply with Title IX. GEEA a critical step towards achieving equity in education, particularly for students of color, and we applaud Sen. Hirono and Rep. Matsui for its timely introduction.”

The Gender Equity in Education Act is cosponsored by Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Representatives Val Demings (D-Fla.), Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), Jahana Hayes (D-Conn.), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), Joseph D. Morelle (D-N.Y.), and Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.).

The legislation is endorsed by the American Association of University Women (AAUW), Association of Title IX Administrators (ATIXA), Feminist Majority Foundation (FMF), Legal Aid at Work, National Coalition for Women and Girls in Education (NCWGE), National Women’s Law Center (NWLC), Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF), YWCA USA, and the National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity (NAPE). The bill text is available here.