Every year, March signals a time to recognize inspirational and influential women. However, it’s easy to find a reason to celebrate women and their many contributions every day of the year!
This celebration got its start in 1981 when Congress requested that the first week in March be known as “Women’s History Week.”
This year, Women’s History Month is dedicated to trailblazing women in labor and business, and the honorees are recognized for challenging cultural, structural and legal forms of discrimination against women and girls. The 19th amendment, which gave women the right to vote, and the Equal Pay Act were both crucial steps to achieve gender equality in the workforce, and ambitious women are still working towards those goals today!
Each week of March, we’re spotlighting one (of many) woman whose activism and passion changed our society. We begin with Patsy Mink.
Patsy Mink (1927-2002)
Mink was the first woman of color elected to the US House of Representatives and served from 1965 to 1977 and again from 1990 to 2002, where she represented Hawaii’s 2nd Congressional District. She fought for civil rights, women’s rights, economic justice, civil liberties, and the integrity of the democratic process. After her death, The Patsy Takemoto Mink Education Foundation was organized in her honor to carry on her commitments, and she was awarded a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom (2014).
While in the House, Mink served for the Committee on Education and Labor where she introduced or sponsored various acts including the first childcare bill and legislation establishing bilingual education, special education, student loans, and Head Start.
In addition, Mink also advocated for women’s rights in Congress. Because of her ambition, we can attribute the Women’s Education Equity Act to Mink. This act provided $30 million a year in education funds for programs to promote gender equity in schools, to increase educational and job opportunities for women, and to get rid of sexual stereotypes from textbooks and school curricula.
Take a moment to recognize the women in your life, today and everyday! Celebrate women's history every day with timeless folktales for our Women’s History Month reading list.