For AAPI Heritage Month, Explore Patsy Mink’s Celebration of Title IX

To celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage month, we are featuring a speech by Patsy Mink, the first woman of color and the first Asian American woman elected to Congress. This document is from The Schlager Anthology of Women’s History: A Student’s Guide to Essential Primary Sources, a modern, original library reference set covering women’s history from ancient times to the present day. Edited by Dr. Kelly McCoy (Point Loma Nazarene University), this 3-volume set traces women’s history through more than 200 critical historical documents: speeches, letters, court opinions, interviews, legislative documents, and more. 

Patsy Mink devoted her career to advocating for women’s rights and education. She co-authored the Title IX Amendment on Higher Education, which  was later renamed the Patsy T. Mink Equal Opportunity Act. Take a look at her speech below where she reflects on the 25th anniversary of Title IX!

Patsy Mink: Speech on the 25th Anniversary of Title IX


Patsy Mink



Document Type



Celebrates Title IX, which prohibits sex-based discrimination in any school or educational program that receives funding from the federal government


The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibited discrimination on the basis of race, sex, and religion, but only as it pertained to public accommodations and employment; it did not extend protections to people at educational institutions. Title IX of the Civil Rights Act was added in 1972 to fill in the gap. On Title IX’s twenty-fifth anniversary, Congresswoman Patsy Mink of Hawaii gave this speech commemorating the historic law, which she was influential in expanding even after its initial passage.

 Mink devoted her career to expanding the rights of women, especially related to educational freedom. In 1972, she helped sponsor Title IX, which amended the Higher Education Act of 1965. The Patsy T. Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act, as Title IX was renamed in 2002, was a symbol of the work Congresswoman Mink had advocated for and accomplished. Mink was also influential in introducing the Women’s Educational Equity Act of 1974, which funded gender equity in schools. The act benefited women as it created new paths toward employment and education. It also tackled negative gender images that were common in schools at the time. Since its twenty-fifth anniversary in 1997, Title IX has gone through numerous changes and challenges, but at its core Title IX is still aimed at promoting equality and equity.

Document Text

Today marks the 25th anniversary of Title IX of the Education Act Amendments of 1972 which prohibits sex discrimination in educational institutions receiving Federal funds. To commemorate the 25th anniversary of Title IX, the gentleman from Michigan [Mr. Bonior], the gentlewoman from New Jersey [Mrs. Roukema] and I along with 61 other cosponsors have introduced a concurrent resolution which celebrates the accomplishments of Title IX, supporting efforts to continue pursuing the goals of educational opportunity for women and girls. I will ask that the resolution be printed at the end of my special order this evening.

 Since its enactment Title IX has opened the doors of educational opportunity to literally millions of girls and women across the Nation. Title IX helped tear down inequitable admission policies, increase opportunities for women in nontraditional fields of study such as math and science, law and medicine, improve vocational educational opportunities for women, reduce discrimination against pregnant students and teen mothers, protect female students from sexual harassment in our schools and increase athletic opportunities for girls and women.

As a member of the Education and Labor Committee in 1972, I helped to craft Title IX and worked diligently throughout the years to promote this law and fight against efforts to weaken its impact. I certainly consider Title IX one of my most significant accomplishments while I served in Congress from 1965 until 1977.

We have heard so much in recent years about the accomplishments of Title IX, particularly in the area of athletics, and many do not realize the history of this legislation and the battles that were fought to keep this law intact. On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of Title IX, I thought it would be appropriate to share this history and to recount its origins, its battles and its achievements.

The origins of Title IX began with a series of hearings on the House Education and Labor Committee beginning in the late 1960s and in 1970. In particular, there was a hearing conducted by Congresswoman Edith Green who was the chair then of the Special Subcommittee on Education which dealt with higher education matters.

In June of 1970 the subcommittee held a hearing on legislation introduced by the chair Edith Green, H.R. 16098 to amend Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which included a prohibition against sex discrimination in any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.

We have to put this initiative in the context of the times. It was right around that time that there was this big push for ERA, the Equals Rights Amendment. The women’s movement was very active, pursuing all avenues to gain equal rights and protections in the law. Representative Green’s bill would have provided that protection under the Civil Rights Act. 

At the hearing on July 3, 1970, Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Jerris Leonard testified before the subcommittee stating that, quote, “while we are not able to support this language, we suggest an alternative.” He suggested that the committee should not amend Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, but enact separate legislation to prohibit sex discrimination in education only. This is the genesis of Title IX.

The House Education and Labor Committee had a large body of evidence of discrimination against girls and women in our educational system. Since the time I came to Congress in 1965 we began systematic hearings on textbooks to illustrate the discrimination against girls, women, and also the ethnic minorities.

We scrutinized the textbooks. We looked at the films and the books and other kinds of brochures that were being produced by, yes, our U.S. Department of Education, Office of Education. We scrutinized the admission policies and vocational education courses which taught girls home economics, and essentially there were cooking courses to prepare girls for homemakers, while the boys learned skills in order to enter into careers and to sustain their future ambitions. We had to fight in all areas to open up opportunities for women. We had to fight for equal participation in the poverty program, in the Job Corps Center.

So the proposal of the Assistant Attorney General to focus legislation to prohibit discrimination in education was a logical step for the committee to take. We had considerable debates. The Committee on Education finally reported the legislation in 1971, which then led to negotiations with the Senate and the conference committee that finally yielded Title IX, which is in its historic celebration today for its 25th anniversary.