NEW YORK (WABC) -- Twice in her career, New York Governor Kathy Hochul has replaced men who have been involved in sexual harassment scandals, something that has left its mark.
"I want every woman who works for me to see that they could also have a path to public service, elected or otherwise, and what they're doing is critically important," Hochul said. "I do hope that someday that's part of my legacy is that I opened doors for a lot of women to run for office."
While Governor Hochul is opening doors for women, she knows so many challenges remain. As one of only 12 female governors in the country, she acknowledges that throughout her career she's been held to a different standard than her male counterparts, but says it's forced her to bring different skills to the table.
"What's easier for me, I think, than a lot of women when I am in the only woman in the room and breaking the mold and trying to persuade people that I have the same toughness, the same guts that any man would have. And every role I've ever had, I've had to demonstrate that. But I'll also that's not my default position, I can start out in a collaborative way," she said. "It's not about egos. It's not about, you know, colossal epic clashes with other elected leaders, I know I can have those battles any day I want. I just don't have to."
A growing concern for the governor: the state of teenage girls. A recent report by the Centers for Disease Control found a majority of them in the country are at a breaking point; suffering a dramatic increase in sadness, and are struggling with thoughts of suicide, especially after the pandemic.
"How worried are you about the wellbeing of teenage girls in this country?" Eyewitness News Anchor Liz Cho asked.
"Extremely worried about teenagers in our country and my state," Hochul said. "We didn't have to deal with that. You might get bullied, someone says, 'You look ugly,' or you walk down the hall, someone's nasty to you. Okay, that makes you feel bad. I remember being harassed. When I was in middle school, I transferred from a different school and kids were horrible to me. But it's over in a couple days. Now they move on to somebody else. It wasn't sustained, wasn't the sense that I'm no good at the body image issue. So, I want to penetrate the whole role of social media and give parents techniques on how to be more engaged and help them know things they may not know."
"This year, you entered a new phase, you became a grandmother? What has that been like for you? What is your hope for Sophia as she grows up in this society?" Cho asked.
"Well, society is going to be have to be ready for Sophia. She's quite a little baby. I would say it's made me very sensitive to what young parents are going through. I mean, I raised children a long time ago, different circumstances, you know, sometimes harder, sometimes not as hard as today," she said. "I want to make sure I wipe out any vestige of any discrimination for women and my little Sophia as she grows up she'll have a totally different world where she's valued for her contributions and never because she happens to be a little girl, or a grown up girl."
Check out part one of the governor's interview HERE.
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