American Names

Names of Women Governors and Lt. Governors

Earlier this week, Kay Ivey was sworn in as Alabama’s second female governor, after the resignation of Gov. Robert Bentley.  Politics and Bentley’s disgraceful behavior aside; I am a feminist at heart, and I want better representation for women in government.  My interest usually piques whenever another woman attains political office, even if I strongly disagree with her deeds and doctrines.  Adding to my curiosity, my own state has never had a female governor, lieutenant governor, or senator.  I naturally want to know the names of the women who have reached these lofty positions.

Below you will find a list of the lady governors’ first names and a list of the lady lieutenant governors’ names!  They are sorted alphabetically and by frequency. 

Nellie Tayloe Ross, first woman Governor in U.S. (1925-27)

Frequency of Women’s Governor Names:

  • Christine (x2)
  • Jane (x2)
  • Kathleen (x2)
  • Kay (x2)
  • Mary (x2) – though one goes by “Jodi
  • Barbara
  • Beverly “Bev”
  • CynthiaJeanne
  • Dixy Lee (birth name Marguerite)
  • DorothyAnn
  • Ella – had 3 middle names.  Ella Rosa Giovianna Oliva
  • Gina
  • Janet
  • JaniceJan
  • Jennifer
  • Joan
  • Judy
  • KatherineKate
  • Linda
  • Lurleen
  • Madeleine
  • MargaretMaggie
  • Martha
  • Miriam
  • Muriel (D.C. Mayor)
  • Nancy
  • Nellie – the very first woman governor, from Wyoming
  • Nimrata “Nikki
  • Olene
  • Rose
  • Ruth
  • Sarah – Yes, Palin.  Worth mentioning – her surname became a viable baby name in 2008 because of her VP nomination.  Palin peaked in 2009 with 38 girls, though there are several other spellings lurking about. 
  • Sharon (D.C. Mayor)
  • Sila (Puerto Rico)
  • Susana
  • Vesta

Because there have only been a few women governors, there is no clear winner as far as a “most popular” name for ladies in charge.  Not even Mary, the #1 name throughout the late 19th and early 20th century.  Governor Ivey is the reason there’s ever been more than one Kay.

Frequency of Women Lieutenant Governors’ Names:

  • Mary (x5) – one goes by “Jodi
  • Nancy (x4)
  • Ruth (x4) – though one went by Harriett
  • Barbara (x3)
  • Kathleen (x3)
  • Rebecca (x3)
  • Elizabeth (x2) – one known as “Betsy
  • Evelyn (x2)
  • Jane (x2)
  • Kim (x2)
  • Kimberly (x2) “Kim
  • Martha (x2)
  • Sheila (x2)
  • Sue (x2)
  • Amy
  • Angela
  • AntoinetteToni
  • Bethany
  • Beverly “Bev”
  • Carol
  • Carole
  • Catherine
  • Connie
  • Consuelo
  • Corinne
  • Diane
  • Donna
  • EdytheEvelyn
  • Eugenia “Crit” (Crit is short for Crittenden)
  • Eunice
  • FrancesFran
  • Gail
  • Jari
  • Jean (middle name Sadako)
  • Jenean
  • Jennette
  • Jennifer
  • Jo Ann
  • Joanell
  • Joanne
  • Joy
  • Judy
  • Karyn
  • KatherineKathy
  • Kay
  • Kerry
  • Lorraine
  • Lucy
  • Madeleine
  • Mae
  • Margaret
  • Marlene
  • Matilda – 1st woman to serve as Lieutenant Governor (for Michigan)
  • Maude
  • Maureen
  • Maxine
  • Mazie
  • Melinda
  • Olene
  • Patty
  • Rosemarie
  • Sally
  • Simeona “Mona” (middle name Fortunata!)
  • Suzanne
  • Thelma
  • Tina
  • Yvonne

The fact that there have been more women serve as lieutenant governor means that we actually can determine a most popular name for this subset.  Mary is the unsurprising victor, though Nancy and Ruth follow very closely.  If the two Kimberly‘s were Kim‘s or vice versa, Kim/Kimberly would be as common in the office as Nancy and Ruth

Thoughts?  As time passes, I’d love to see what (if any) names feature more prominently among women in politics.  Maybe next I’ll write a frequency list for the names of Congresswomen? 



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