After graduating as the class president and valedictorian of her high school, a young Asian-American woman was rejected from every medical school for which she applied. How could someone so intelligent and driven be pushed away from their incredible potential when they exhibited all the ideal traits of a successful individual. The facts concluded that many of the top schools were snubbing women enrollers because they “used quotas to limit female enrollment”. Little did these schools know, the very woman they rejected would go on to co-author ‘Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972’, which gave women more opportunities in athletics and prohibited any gender discrimination within institutions federally funded. Though the battle for the amendment was not without complications, Patsy Takemoto Mink persisted with great courage in conquering the obstacle she and many other women had faced.
Once her path of pursuing a medical career was halted, Mink instead progressed down a political route. With past law experience through her private practice in Hawaii, Mink was later elected into the House of Representatives in 1962 becoming the first woman of color elected to Congress. Mink used her political position with great prowess to fight for the justice of those discriminated against.
Though she would come to achieve success, she was no stranger to opposition and criticism. For instance, she did not support America’s increasing involvement in the Vietnam War and believed activity by the military there should be dismissed. Many disagreed with her including the three other Members of the Hawaii congressional delegation, but Mink continued to stand up for what she believed was right. This confidence in her principles assisted her as she came to produce the most influential accomplishment in her career.
Title IX was an important opportunity for Mink as it discussed the lack of gender equality within schools. Since Patsy had faced this endeavor personally as a student, she contested strongly for this idea. Title IX was sent to the Executive Branch to have ‘detailed regulations’ written that defined the limits schools must uphold under the new conditions. Afterword, it was signed into law by President Nixon on June 23, 1972 and the amendment was officially enacted.
However, controversy soon started forming around the full effects of Title IX. Opponents to this new amendment organized their own “amendment to the appropriations bill” that determined that school athletics would not be affected by Title IX. The fear that prompted this opposition was that funding would be cut from the men’s sports programs. Mink attempted to defend the originally intent of Title IX since she held an incredibly passion for gender equality. Unfortunately, her efforts were unmoving. The new amendment passed through the House, but the Senate shot down the proposed bill. This gave the House the opportunity to change their stance on the matter. Before the voting commenced, Patsy Mink left after an emergency call to rush to the aid of her daughter who had been in a life-threatening car accident. The vote ended with Mink’s adversaries succeeding by one vote, but luckily, due to Mink’s absence, the House was able to redo the process. The following resulted in a win for Mink and Title IX.
Patsy Mink showed immense courage in fighting for justice against any odds. Her actions proved extremely worthwhile as they truly made a difference for women. In an article recognizing Mink for National Woman’s History Month, author Kate Springer writes, “after 45 years, the law has led to dramatic progress: Now 11.5 million women attend college, compared with 8.9 million men”. Not only did more women attend college, Mink’s fight for women’s athletics did not simply prosper in vain. Statistics display that “before Title IX, just 300,000 girls nationwide participated in high school sports every year, versus the 3.5 million who do today”. Title IX truly made a positive impact on the opportunities allowed for women.
Though the route to Title IX’s victory was not easy to obtain, Patsy Mink never gave up fighting for what she believed in. This determination established a deep courage through which amazing accomplishments were brought about. The amazing woman was befittingly recognized in 2014 when President Obama honored her with the “Presidential Medal of Freedom in celebration and recognition of her work to improve the lives of women and minorities and to promote the opportunities and rights of all individuals”. By overcoming and recognizing her past hardships, Patsy Takemoto Mink displayed remarkable courage in her fight against the injustices faced nationwide by every woman of the time.