News Release

Obama’s Budget and Women

GWENDOLYN MINK
Available for a limited number of interviews, Mink is co-editor of the two-volume “Poverty in the United States: An Encyclopedia of History, Politics and Policy” and author of “Welfare’s End.” She just wrote the piece “Obama Sends Mom’s Beloved Program to the Gallows,” which states: “Among the many social programs the Obama FY 2012 Budget targets for elimination is the Women’s Educational Equity Act. This program historically has been underfunded — and some years it has received no funding at all. But it has remained on the books and as such has expressed the federal government’s commitment to promoting gender equity in education. In his 2012 budget, the president puts this program in the termination column. This cut stings —  the savings it earns is a paltry $2 million, so it feels more like a slap in women’s faces than a tough decision in favor of deficit reduction.

“The fate Obama has assigned Women’s Educational Equity also stings because my mother, the late Congresswoman Patsy Mink (D-Hawaii), was the original sponsor of WEEA in 1974 and fought for it throughout her years in Congress. …What my mother loved about WEEA was that it put government in a positive role, nurturing and supporting efforts at all levels of education to improve the educational context for women and girls. … Title IX requires educational institutions to avoid and remedy discrimination. WEEA gives educational innovators tools to eliminate cultural and ideological barriers (such as sex stereotyping in classroom materials and curricula) to the full participation of girls and women in educational processes while also encouraging programs that advance the incorporation of girls and women into fields that historically have excluded them — math, science, and engineering, for example.

“White House documents that accompany the 2012 Budget state that WEEA objectives will be advanced in other programs. I hope that’s true. But in my cursory reading of the itemized Department of Education budget, the word ‘women’ appears only once — with reference to terminating WEEA.

“While the budget saves a whopping $2 million by killing WEEA, notice that it wastes more federal money on abstinence education ($50 million) and on promoting marriage and fatherhood ($150 million).”

Mink is the daughter of Patsy Mink, former representative from Hawaii; a documentary on her life “Patsy Mink: Ahead of the Majority” was released in 2009.

Mink also wrote the short blog entry: “A New Bipartisan Consensus Against Low Income People.” See her blog: feministsocialjustice.blogspot.com

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167