Patsy Mink

A lot of us ask ourselves: Is the fight worth it? Do we fight for freedom, equality and perspective or do we just continue living our lives afraid of the majority? Well, obviously it sounds difficult fighting for these things. So, should we just sit down in front of our TV and pretend the problem isn’t out there?

Let us seek the answer in the life of a woman who felt these difficulties in her own life, and in her pursuit wouldn’t back down because of the pressure of the majority, which told her to stay back and be silent. This woman is Patsy Mink.

Patsy Takemoto was born on the island of Maui on Hawaiian territory in 1927. Her parents were born in Hawaii, but her grandparents were immigrants from Japan.

Although she was mostly surrounded by a working class community which worked predominantly on sugar plantations, Patsy went to school, and in 1944. graduated from high school as a valedictorian and president of her class.

Patsy aspired to become a medical student, but had been turned down by more than ten medical schools across the United States. The reason for rejection of all of these institutions was that she was a woman. Because of the obvious sexism, she decided to change the direction of her life and applied to law school. She was invited to study at the University of Chicago. There were only two women in her class and she was one of them.

While studying, Patsy Takemoto met her husband John Mink. They married in 1951. and moved to Hawaii after completing their studies. They had one daughter, that they named Gwendolyn.

In 1953. Patsy passed her bar exam in Hawaii, but no one would hire her. She had several faults according to employers. She was a woman, she had a child and was in an interracial marriage. Eventually she started her own practice, and took cases that other law firms often turned down, including divorces, adoptions, other family issues as well as issues concerning women.

During that time, she became a part of the Democratic Party of Hawaii. By recruiting and registering young voters she contributed to Hawaii’s “Revolution of 1954.” In that year the Republican Party was overthrown in the territory’s House of Representatives and the Senate. The “revolution” was carried out on the efforts of Japanese-American veterans who were tired of being considered and treated as inferior.

In 1956. Patsy ran for Hawaii’s House of Representatives. She was discouraged by Democratic Party leaders, but she didn’t give up because of it. She strived in her campaign and won. The process repeated itself two years later with the Hawaiiian territory’s Senate. Again, she won.

Hawaii was finally declared the 50th state of the United States in 1959 and Patsy ran a campaign to represent it in Congress. Although she lost that time, she ran again for Congress in 1964. and won. She was the first woman of color to have made it into Congress. She served six consecutive terms in the House of Representatives and was recognized as a fighter for civil rights, gender equality and education.

In 1970. she testified against a judge, George Carswell who was known to discriminate against women and people of color. Her testimony helped persuade the Senate not to let him take a seat in the U.S. Supreme Court. Instead, another judge, Harry Blackmun was appointed to this duty and eventually wrote the majority opinion extending abortion rights in the famous case Roe v. Wade.

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Regarding her fame, she is the most known as the primary author of Title IX. The Title IX forbids gender discrimination in all educational institutions that are funded by the government. It passed in 1972. and dramatically changed access to education for women and girls, including school-sponsored sports.

Patsy distincts from your everyday person in one thing. She was willing to fight the public opinion on crucial matters. Her stand was that the majority of people are not always right and that they could be driven by ignorance and prejudices.

The things she fought for are bilingual education, affordable student loans, free childcare and an end to the Vietnam war.

Her accomplishments include:

Patsy T. Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act
Women's Educational Equity Act
Consumer Product Safety Act
Equal Employment Opportunity Act

And many more

In 1977. Patsy ran for Senate and lost, although president Jimmy Carter did appoint her to the duty of assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs. She served in that position for two years before returning to Honolulu.

In Honolulu she served as a politician in the city council and worked as a lawyer. In 1990, she was back in the House of Representatives and held the office until she died.

She passed away on September 28, 2002. Her death was caused by Pneumonia. The Congress renamed Title iX the Patsy T. Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act in her honor.


Mislav Zlomisli─ç is a digital marketing intern of PS Media Enterprise. He is a former student of Zagreb school of economics and management, Zagreb, Croatia


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