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Hirono Unveils Legislation To Bolster Title IX, Gender Equity In Education

Today, Senator Mazie K. Hirono introduced the Patsy Mink Gender Equity in Education Act. This bill would provide more resources for schools, school districts, states, and institutions of higher education to fully implement the Patsy Mink Equal Opportunity Act, commonly referred to as Title IX – which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in federally funded educational programs and activities. Representative Louise M. Slaughter (D-NY) introduced a companion bill in the House of Representatives.

“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.”

“Gender bias continues to permeate every sector of our society today. It is having a devastating impact on careers and the research being done every day across the United States. When a woman is not paid the same as a man for doing the same job, it cheats her entire family. Ensuring that all women are given the chance to succeed in life begins with giving them equal opportunities in the classroom. 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. I look forward to continuing to work with Senator Hirono on this important bill,” said Representative Slaughter.

The Patsy Mink Gender Equity in Education Act would provide resources, training, and technical assistance to fully implement Title IX and reduce and prevent sex discrimination in all areas of education, including:

  • 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
  • Disseminating resources and best practices nationwide

The Patsy Mink Gender Equity in Education Act is cosponsored by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Ed Markey (D-MA), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH). More than 25 organizations, including the American Association of University Women (AAUW), the Hawaii Department of Education, and the Human Rights Campaign support the bill.

“The Patsy Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act, which is widely known as Title IX, protects people from discrimination and the Hawaii State Department of Education works to ensure equal opportunities are afforded to all students,” said Hawaii Department of Education Schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “Hawaii’s Patsy Mink led the way, and now Senator Hirono’s bill is taking it a step further because it would safeguard that gender equity is effectively carried out by providing resources, including grants for gender equity efforts, and training for Title IX coordinators."

“AAUW Hawaii has fought hard to support gender equity in Hawaii schools,” said Amy Monk, Director of AAUW-Honolulu. “Hawaii DOE needs more resources for Title IX coordinators, and not enough students or parents know who to contact if there’s a problem with gender discrimination. Mahalo to Senator Hirono for introducing this legislation to help train Title IX coordinators and provide resources to implement Title IX.”