Woman of the Month is a feature on my blog where each month I highlight a woman in the world who I think garners recognition. I started this mainly to increase Girl Power and empowerment, and because there’s a lot of women I feel are overlooked and I wanted to bring attention to them.
This month, I’m highlighting Patsy Mink
Patsy Mink was a third-generation Japanese-American from Hawaii, and a lawyer and politician. She was the first non-white woman and first Asian-American woman elected to congress, and the first woman elected to congress from Hawaii. She was the first Asian-American to seek presidential nomination from the Democratic party.
While in university, Mink successfully fought to end the racial segregation that still occurred at the University of Nebraska. She had intended to go to medical school, but none of the medical schools she applied to accepted women at that time. She decided to go to law school instead to force the schools to accepted women (yes for pettiness). After law school, she was unable to find a firm that would hire a Japanese woman, so she instead started her own practice and was the first Japanese woman to practice law in Hawaii.
While in congress, she served for 12 terms and was noted for co-authoring the Title IX Amendment of the Higher Education Act, which prohibits gender discrimination by federally funded institutions. The act was later renamed the Patsy Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act. She also introduced the first comprehensive Early Childhood Education Act and authored the Women’s Educational Equity Act, all of which were declared landmark laws by Congress for advancing equal rights in America. Mink was also the first Democratic woman to deliver a State of the Union response and served as the president of Americans for Democratic Action. She was later appointed as Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs.
Finally, she posthumously received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Obama in 2014.
I had never heard of Patsy Mink until I started doing this post, and I’m really disappointed by that. She did so much for civil rights in America and is a really great role model.
Thanks for reading xx