March 8th Is International Women’s Day

Congresswoman Patsy Mink changed women’s sports.

March 8th is International Women’s Day. It also is a celebration of the Patsy T. Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act or Title IX. The legislation was drafted in the early 1970s with bipartisan support and was signed into law by President Richard Nixon on June 23rd, 1972. Title IX’s mandate? Colleges that took federal money had to offer men and women equal opportunity at educational courses. It broke down quota systems. Today, Title IX seems to be all about sports. But it is about education not sports. You read that women’s sports takes too much money away from men’s sports programs and it is Title IX that is to blame because colleges have to field women’s teams whether they like it or not. Title IX is an educational opportunity law.

Two Senators Democrat Birch Bayh and Republican Ted Stevens helped get the bill to Nixon’s desk but it was House Democrat Patsy Mink of Hawaii who really faced discrimination. She played basketball in high school but only half-court basketball because running up and down a court was too much for women. She was denied entry into medical school, she went to law school and became a lawyer and was denied a spot at a law firm because she was a married woman. Mink and Oregon’s Congresswoman Edith Green got the ball rolling in 1971 and somehow got the bill out of committee onto the floor, it got passed. Then it got into the Senate, passed there and got to Richard Nixon’s desk. Women still face discrimination on college campuses and Title IX is still being challenged. The 1972 legislation is not perfect as there are still unsolved problems that need to be addressed.  Mink will be honored in 2024 on the back of a U.S. quarter.

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FILE – In this April 7, 1969, file photo, President Richard Nixon and Baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn, center-left, join Washington Senators manager Ted Williams, left, in a round of laughter before the chief executive tossed out the first ball in an opening day baseball game at RFK Stadium in Washington. Nixon signed Title IX into law.(AP Photo/File)