There are women who are just powerhouses in their fields and Patsy Mink is the queen of them all. She was born in Paia, Hawaii in 1927 and would go on to be a woman of many “firsts” and accomplish great things during her career. She had a BA in zoology and chemistry and dreamed of being a doctor. Of course, none of the medical schools she applied to would accept her, so she changed her course and pursued a law degree. She would graduate from the University of Chicago Law School in 1951 and would return to her home state of Hawaii, becoming the first woman of Japanese-American heritage to practise law in that state. .
Her remarkable political career began in 1956 when she was elected to the Hawaii House of Representatives. From there, in 1964 she became the first woman of color elected to the national legislature and the first Asian-American congresswoman. This is role, she would serve for over 13 terms in office and strived to make a significant impact. Mink was a champion of human and equal rights during her time in office. She fought for the rights of immigrants and minorities but is most remember for being one of the authors of Title IX, which prohibits discrimination in education based on gender. She sought to eliminate the discrimination she faced as a woman of color and believed deeply that she should not just represent the interests of her district constituents but the greater interests of the American people. .
While she did face some setbacks with her career, losing a bid for a Senate seat and then for Governor of Hawaii and Mayor of Honolulu, she did not believe that an elected position was the end all be all of being a public servant. She would eventually return to Congress as a Representative and continued to fight for educational equity, the rights of the poor, and equality for women. She stuck true to her liberal ideology across her entire career and had a lasting impact and legacy. Patsy Mink was hospitalized with pneumonia in 2002 for a month before passing away. She was an incredible legislator and should be remembered as a true public servant with true American values of equality and diversity. #womenwholead #feminist #womenshistorymonth