Nine Women Now Serving as Governors in US, Tying a Record

Taking over on short notice for a scandal-plagued predecessor in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul began her tenure Tuesday with more than enough challenges for a new administration. 

She also began with an historic opportunity: Hochul is the first woman to hold one of the most prominent governorships in the U.S.

"New York as a whole has been a tough place for women to break into the highest levels, because there is very much a tight set of powerful gatekeepers," said Debbie Walsh, director of the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University.

"And unfortunately — even in 2021 — women are still seen, in effect, as newcomers," she said.

Hochul, a Democrat, became the ninth woman currently serving as a governor. That ties a record that was set in 2004 and matched in 2007 and 2019, but it's still well shy of gender proportionality.

A century after women gained the right to vote, 19 states still have never been led by a woman. That includes some of the most populous states, such as California, Florida, Pennsylvania and Illinois. Even if it succeeds, California's recall election of Gov. Gavin Newsom next month doesn't appear likely to elevate a woman to the state's top job.

Hochul had served as New York's lieutenant governor until succeeding fellow Democrat Andrew Cuomo, who resigned after a decade in office. Cuomo had faced a potential impeachment battle after an attorney general's investigation said he had sexually harassed or inappropriately touched 11 women. Among other things, Cuomo also had faced a legislative investigation into whether he misled the public last year about COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes. 

Hochul already has announced she will seek a full four-year term in 2022. 

Next year could be a pivotal one for women running for governor. Democratic Gov. Kate Brown of Oregon will be the only female incumbent barred from seeking re-election by term limits. Six male governors also will be term-limited, opening a path to office for fresh candidates from both parties. 

In Arizona, where Republican Gov. Doug Ducey can't run again, the field already has several candidates who are women, including Republican state Treasurer Kimberly Yee and Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs. Arizona already holds the record for the most women who have served as governor — four. Kansas has had three.

In Arkansas, which has never had a woman serve as governor, a high-profile Republican primary pits Attorney General Leslie Rutledge against Sarah Sanders, press secretary for former President Donald Trump and daughter of former Gov. Mike Huckabee. The incumbent, Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson, will be termed out. 

In 2018, women's political advocates also thought they were primed for success with a record number of candidates for governor. But they did not ultimately set a new record for victories.

Women currently hold 18% of governors' offices — significantly less than this year's new records of 27% of U.S. congressional seats and 31% of state legislative seats. In addition, Vice President Kamala Harris also became the first woman in that role this year. 

Part of the challenge in electing women as governors is overcoming stereotypes of men as stronger, more decisive leaders, Walsh said. 

Another challenge is deepening the pool of women willing to enter politics, said Wendy Doyle, president and CEO of the Kansas City, Missouri-based nonprofit United WE.

The organization is coordinating an effort to get more women appointed to positions on state, county and city boards and commissions. It's working with local officials in California, Kansas, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania Texas and Washington. The idea is that some women appointed to positions eventually will run for elected offices.

"It's a long game," Doyle said. "But we've got to build the pipeline; we've got to build the bench."


WASHINGTON — Under fire from parents and politicians, President Joe Biden is offering formula manufacturers and retailers transportation and logistics support to ease the nationwide shortage of baby formula, as the administration works to bring the largest domestic plant back on line after it was shut down early this year due to safety issues.

Top Stories

General News

FALMOUTH, MA – The police in Falmouth have identified the victim in an accident involving a car plunging into the ocean on February 20, NBC10 Boston reported.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.

General News

PHILADELPHIA – The Federation of Hellenic Societies of Philadelphia and Greater Delaware Valley announced that the Evzones, the Presidential Guard of Greece will be participating in the Philadelphia Greek Independence Day Parade on March 20.


A. Diamataris on “ERT” Regarding Mitsotakis’ Visit to the U.S. (Video)

ATHENS – Antonis H. Diamataris, Advisor to the Publishers of Ethnikos Kirix and The National Herald, appeared on Greek state television, in particular, on ERT1’s show ‘From Six’.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. abc@xyz.com

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.