Gov. Kathy Hochul talks about challenges for women and breaking barriers

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Monday, March 20, 2023
Gov. Hochul talks about challenges for women and breaking barriers
March is Women's History Month and one woman making her mark on New York history is Kathy Hochul, the first female elected governor or the state.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- March is Women's History Month and one woman making her mark on New York history is Kathy Hochul, the first female elected governor or the state.

Eyewitness News anchor Liz Cho sat down with the governor in her office in Midtown, Manhattan, to talk about the challenges she has faced in her career as a woman and as a working mom - and the never-ending quest to balance it all.

Long before she made history, she found herself in a situation so many other working moms are forced to face.

In 1985, Hochul, a top staffer for Sen. Patrick Moynihan, had just given birth to her first child, her son William, when she realized she had to leave the job she loved because she didn't have adequate child care or the necessary support at home.

She said she certainly worried at times if she would ever have a career again.

"I would say it was kind of lonely and a little scary, and you just wonder, am I gonna lose my edge? And are you spending your day watching Sesame Street? And you know, you definitely had those thoughts, am I gonna be able to get back on the track? And what does that look like?" Hochul said. "You know, what, what is out there for me, and am I losing my skills while I'm home."

Hochul went on to talk about some of the biggest challenges she faced while having two young kids at home.

"You never feel like you're giving your all to wherever you are, I tried to start a little home business," she said. "It was crazy. I'm trying to make phone calls to prospective clients. And I had babies crying and the right two kids at the time trying to pray that they would take naps, I get some work done. And it was it was a struggle. Because then when you're with your children, you're thinking, well, maybe I should be doing more on the work. So women never have that sense of being in its place or supposed to be because you're always torn."

Instead of feeling guilty, the governor offered the following advice to women who feel torn.

"I tell other young moms, I said 'your kids will be better,' my kids are more engaged, you know, I raised my son as a feminist, he knows that women have every right and that a man ever had," Hochul said. "And he'll make sure that his daughter has those rights."

While it may not have felt like it in the moment, Hochul said working moms are role models.

"I think things are better now," Hochlu said. "It's still not easy. Women always have that sense of conflict, where am I supposed to be. I really love that, that this next generation has figured it out better than mine did."

She called that a small, yet significant sign of progress - once she has witnessed first-hand now that she has become a grandmother for the first time.

"So I look at today, my son just came off of his four-month paternity leave, his wife had four months home," Hochul said. "So it's been great in one generation to see how the whole dynamic has shifted."

Twice in her career, Hochul has replaced men who have been involved in sexual harassment scandals.

Stay tuned for how the scandals have shaped how she governs as well as how being a grandmother has changed how she governs as coverage continues this week.

WATCH | Sade Baderinwa hosts UN's observance of International Women's Day

The theme this year is "DigitALL: Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality."


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