RESCUING AN EDUCATIONAL EQUALITY PROGRAM FOR WOMEN AND GIRLS

Sep 9, 2004
Press Release
WASHINGTON, DC - The House of Representatives was poised to pass a Labor-Health and Human Services Appropriations bill (HR 5006) today that would zero out the Women’s Educational Equity Act (WEEA) after 30 years of ensuring that women and men, girls and boys are treated equally and fairly in school. On the House floor, Rep. Carolyn Maloney (NY-14), along with Reps. Lynn Woolsey (CA-06) and Loretta Sanchez (CA-47) offered an amendment to fund WEEA at last year’s level - $3 million. The measure successfully passed the House.

WEEA was enacted to promote educational equity for girls and women and to provide funds to help educate agencies and institutions meet the requirements of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. It gives women and girls the training, materials and support to succeed in the educational system

“The progress we women and girls have made in the past 30 years did not come by itself,” said Maloney. “Programs like WEEA have brought us this far. But we would be foolish to think the job is over.

“The test scores of women and girls still trail those of their male counterparts in subjects like math and science. And just last week, the Census Bureau released a study showing that the wage gap between men and women widened in 2003. In fact, women’s pay slumped for the first time since 1999 with women earning only 75.5 cents for every dollar men earned. According to the Census Bureau, this massive decline marks the first “statistically significant” decline in women’s pay since 1995. It’s obvious that programs promoting equality are very relevant today. It was a mistake to de-fund WEEA, and I applaud my colleagues in the House for correcting it.”

WEEA was established by the late Representative Patsy Mink (D-HI) in 1974 and was reauthorized as part of the No Child Left Behind Act. WEEA has helped women and girls close the educational gap in America, but there are still some disparities, including:

  • In 2003, male students scored higher on average than female students in mathematics
  • Girls represent 17 percent of the Computer Science “Advanced Placement” test takers, and less than one in 10 of the higher level Computer Science “AB” test takers
  • Women are roughly 20 percent of IT professionals
  • Women receive less than 28 percent of the computer science bachelor's degrees, down from a high of 37 percent in 1984. Computer science is the only field in which women's participation has actually decreased over time
  • Women make up just 9 percent of the recipients of engineering-related bachelor's degrees.

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