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On 51st Anniversary of Title IX, Hirono, Matsui Reintroduce Bicameral Legislation to Boost Gender Equity in Education

~ The 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 ~

WASHINGTON, D.C. Today, U.S. Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI) and Representative Doris Matsui (D-CA) 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 through the U.S. Department of Education to combat gender-based harassment and discrimination in education. The introduction comes on the 51st anniversary of the signing of Title IX, which was authored by Congresswoman Mink to advance gender equity in education programs.

“More than 50 years after Title IX was signed into law, we’ve made great progress in advancing gender equity in federally supported education programs,” said Senator Hirono. “But there’s still more work to do to ensure women and girls, including transgender and nonbinary students, have access to equal opportunity and support. By strengthening gender equity protections, this bill builds on the legacy laid by Patsy Mink and Louise Slaughter, who spent their lives fighting to advance equal opportunity. I am glad to join Representative Matsui in reintroducing the Gender Equity in Education Act to combat harassment and discrimination in education programs and ensure every student in Hawaii and across the country has the opportunity to thrive, regardless of their gender.”

“Patsy Mink and Louise Slaughter were forces of nature dedicated to expanding opportunity and eradicating discrimination on the basis of sex in schools everywhere,” said Congresswoman Matsui. “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. We must continue their legacy by ensuring that every child—regardless of gender—has the same opportunity to succeed. On the 51st anniversary of Title IX’s enactment, we are leading this legislation to ensure that schools are provided with the resources needed to remove discrimination and are equal and fair places for all.”

Senator Hirono and Representative Matsui previously introduced the legislation in the 115th, 116th, and 117th 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. Specifically, 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 and their allies with annual trainings, information, and best practices about Title IX compliance.

“Access to education free of discrimination is a cornerstone of women’s economic security. While there has been tremendous progress in access to education for women and girls, we are still far from that ideal of fully eradicating bias and discrimination in schools, colleges and universities,” said Gloria L. Blackwell, CEO of AAUW. “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 will strengthens students’ civil rights protections by providing critical resources, training and technical assistance to help educational entities fully comply with Title IX.”

“The Association of Title IX Administrators, on behalf of its 11,000 practitioner members, expresses its support for the GEEA,” said Daniel C. Swinton, President of ATIXA. “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 Senator Hirono and Representative Matsui for championing the passage of this bill.”

“Thank you to Senator Hirono and Representative Matsui for reintroducing the expanded GEEA,” said Sue Klein, Education Equity Director of the Feminist Majority Foundation. “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.”

“Since becoming law over 50 years ago, Title IX has played a crucial role in advancing equal access to education for women and girls,” stated Shiwali Patel, Director of Justice for Student Survivors & Senior Council at the National Women's Law Center. “However, despite its impact, there is still work to be done as we witness ongoing sex discrimination in schools and an alarming increase in attacks on the rights of LGBTQ+ students. We must continue to fight to make gender equity in education a reality for all. NWLC is thankful to Senator Hirono and Representative Matsui for their continued leadership fighting sex discrimination in education by reintroducing the Patsy T. Mink and Louise M. Slaughter Gender Equity in Education Act (GEEA). Because it would ensure schools are equipped with the necessary tools and resources to address sex discrimination and comply with Title IX, GEEA paves the way for the fulfillment of Title IX's promise—equal educational opportunity for every student.”

“Title IX is often thought of as the federal law that helps advance students in school sports programs. But the landmark law whose 51st anniversary we celebrate on June 23rd, does so much more to assure equal opportunity in both athletics and academics. The National Organization for Women believes Title IX to be one of our most effective civil rights laws by providing a better educational experience for all students and enabling many to attain higher education and go on to successful careers” said Christian F. Nunes, President of the National Organization for Women. “The reintroduced Patsy T. Mink and Louise M. Slaughter Gender Equity in Education Act (GEEA) of 2023, sponsored by Senator Hirono and Representative Matsui, contains many improvements for Title IX implementation that would assist schools in best practices for achieving sex and gender equity, plus offering additional resources and training for Title IX coordinators so that all students can realize their full potential. NOW urges Congress to pass this important legislation.”

“As we commemorate 51 years since the passage of Title IX, it’s important to recognize the full promise of this landmark law has yet to be met,” said Danette Leighton, CEO of Women’s Sports Foundation. “The Gender Equity in Education Act would help ensure that all girls and women are able to participate in sport and education free from discrimination. The Women’s Sports Foundation applauds Senator Hirono and Representative Matsui for reintroducing this important bill, and for their unwavering commitment to gender equity in sports and education.”  

The Gender Equity in Education Act is cosponsored by Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Ed Markey (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Tina Smith (D-MN), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), and Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Derek Kilmer (D-WA), Ed Case (D-HI), Salud Carbajal (D-CA), and Joe Morelle (D-NY).

The legislation is endorsed by the American Association of University Women (AAUW), Association of Title IX Administrators (ATIXA), Feminist Majority Foundation (FMF), National Organization for Women (NOW),  National Women’s Law Center (NWLC), Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF).

The full text of the bill is available here.  

Senator Hirono has long been a champion of Title IX and similar anti-discrimination policies. Earlier this year, she spoke out against Republicans’ anti-transgender Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act on the Senate floor—legislation that would have banned transgender women and girls from participating in sports consistent with their gender. Last December, Senator Hirono also introduced legislation to strengthen civil rights protections against harassment in schools. In 2022, she also sent a letter commending the Department of Education’s proposed Title IX rule to ensure survivors can seek justice, extend discrimination protections to trans students, and strengthen protections for pregnant and parenting students. Last June, on the 50th anniversary of Title IX, she delivered remarks at the portrait unveiling for the late Congresswoman Patsy Mink at the U.S. Capitol, where she celebrated the life and legacy of Congresswoman Mink, who introduced and championed Title IX.