50 years after Title IX’s passage, Patsy Mink honored with a portrait of her own

For more than two-decades spent representing Hawaii in Washington, Mink fought tirelessly for equality.
Published: Jun. 23, 2022 at 7:58 AM HST|Updated: Jun. 23, 2022 at 5:34 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - An official portrait of Hawaii Congresswoman Patsy Mink was unveiled at the U.S. Capitol on Thursday.

The unveiling of the portrait took place on the 50-year anniversary of Title IX being signed into law — which Mink spearheaded.

The landmark legislation ensures equal opportunity for women in athletics and works toward preventing sexual harassment on campuses.

Her contributions were celebrated Thursday both in Hawaii and Washington, D.C.

“Title IX represented a sea change for women in our country,” said U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii. “Fifty years later, Title IX is just as important today as it was when Patsy fought for it.”

For more than two-decades spent representing Hawaii in Washington, Mink fought tirelessly for equality.

“She was a leader, a pioneer, a collaborator, a cooperator and she always did it with this beautiful smile, while she dissected your arguments on the other side,” U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-California.

While Mink was being recognized in Washington, women from across the state gathered at Mink’s statue in downtown Honolulu to commemorate the anniversary.

Hawaii Supreme Court Justice and former University of Hawaii Rainbow Wahine basketball player Sabrina McKenna considers Mink a trailblazer.

“I am a living beneficiary and an embodiment of the benefit of Title IX,” McKenna said. “If it wasn’t for Title IX, I wouldn’t have gotten the athletic scholarship to play wahine basketball and playing athletics. As I indicated, it makes a big difference in terms of professional success. Women athletes tend to do better, even in the business world or in the law world.”

Mink’s work had a tremendous impact in uplifting women as a 2018 study conducted by Ernst and Young found that 94% of women who hold “C-suite” positions — women who become CEO’s, CFO’s and COO’s at companies or organizations — are former athletes.

But McKenna and many others say that although Mink laid the foundation for equal rights, the work is not done.

“She implored us to greet Title IX anniversaries as a time for rededication, not for commemoration,” said Mink’s daughter, Dr. Wendy Mink. “I think she would hope that her portrait would help inspire that rededication as a reminder to vigilance, a call to activism, and an inspiration to keep doing the work of U.S. democracy.”

Mink’s portrait is now placed alongside others that recognize historic congressional members.

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