Female Governors General

Worldwide Guide to Women in Leadership


The Governor General is the representatives of Queen Elizabeth II in the 15 states where she is Head of State outside United Kingdom. 
The Governor-Generals are de-facto Heads of State.

1981-93 Governor General Rt. Hon. Dr. Dame Elmira Minita 
Gordon, Belize

Commissioner of Belize City 1970-77

1984-90 Governor General The Rt. Hon. Jeanne Sauvé, Canada

Minister of State of Science 1972, 1974-75 Minister of Environment, 1975-79 Minister of Communication and Culture and 1980-84 Speaker of the House of Commons. She lived (1922-93).

1990-96 Governor General The Hon. Dame Catherine Tizard, New Zealand

In 1983-90 Mayor of Auckland. Her daughter, Judith Tizard became a Minister in 1999. Also Commander-in-Chief and President of the Executive Council. (b. 1931-)

1990-95 (†) Governor General Hon. Dame Nita Barrow, Barbados

Head of a number of national and international nurse-organizations, North American President of the World Council of Churches 1983-91, President of the World YWCA 1975-83 and worked with the WHO before becoming Ambassador to the UN, Cuba and the Dominican Republic 1986-90, candidate for the post of UN General Assembly President in 1988. She was the sister of  Errol W. Barrow (1920-87), Prime Minister 1966-76 and 1986-87. She lived (1916-95).

1997- Governor General Hon. Dr. Dame C. Pearlette Louisy, St. Lucia

Teacher, administrator, Vice-Principal and then Principal of St. Lucia's College. (b. 1946-)

1999-2005 Governor General The Rt. Hon. Adrienne Poy Clarkson, Canada
First Governor General of Asian origin. Broadcaster and Journalist, Agent-General of Ontario in Paris 1982-87. She married her longtime partner John Saul (b. 1947-) shortly before taking office. Mother of three children. Born in Hong Kong as Ng Bing Tse, which was changed to Adrienne Poy. (b. 1939-)

1999- Deputy to the Governor General The Hon. Dame Sian Seerpoohi Elias, New Zealand
2001 Administrator of the Government  (22.03-04.04)
2006 Administrator of the Government (04.08-23.08)
2011 Administrator of the Government (23.08-31.08
2016 Administrator of the Government (31.08-28.09)
As Chief Justice of New Zealand since 1999, she is the first deputy of the Governor General and acts in her place when she is abroad or otherwise incapacitated. Her official title when she acts as Governor General is Administrator of the Government. (b. 1949-).

1999-2004 Deputy Dame Yvonne Maginley, Antigua and Barbuda

Appointed Governor-General's Deputy and Ambassador-at-Large. She is Former Director General of the Tourism Board in the Ministry of Tourism. In 2003 she was Created Dame Commander of the British Empire.

2000- 1. Deputy to the Governor General The Hon. Beverly McLachlin, Canada
2005 Administrator of the Government
As Chief Justice of she is also the Deputy to the  Governor General - the other Justices of the Supreme Court also acts as deputies from time to time. She has been judge from 1981, was Chief Justice of British Columbia 1988-89 and in 1989 she was appointed the first female Supreme Court judge. Took over the Vice-Regal duties in 2005 when Governor-General Adrienne Clarkson, was hospitalized to have a pacemaker installed (b. 1943-).

2001-06 Governor General The Rt. Hon. Dame Silvia Cartwright, New Zealand

In 1989 she became the first female Chief Justice of a District Court and in 1993 the first woman in the Supreme Court. She was also Commander-in-Chief and President of the Executive Council. From 2006 one of two international judges on Trial Chamber of the Cambodian War Crimes Tribunal. (b. 1943-).

2001-05 Governor General Dame Dr. Ivy Leona Dumont, The Commonwealth of the Bahamas

Deputy Permanent Secretary in Ministry of Works and Utilities 1975- 78, worked in the private sector, Secretary General of The National Movement Party Senator and Minister in the government 1990-2001. In November she was named acting Governor General, and confirmed by the Queen, 01.01.02. She had been appointed to serve as deputy to the governor general on two earlier occasions. (b. 1930- )

2001-14 Deputy Governor General Monica Jessie Dacon, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
2002  Acting Governor General  (June-September)

As Deputy Governor General since 2001, she acted during the ilness and death of the Governor General until a successor was appointed. Acting Governor General on numerous occations. (b. 1934-).

Michaelle Jean

2005-10 Governor General The Rt. Hon. Michaëlle Jean, Canada

Daughter of Haitian immigrants who fled the Duvalier regime in 1968, former university literature professor, social activist and veteran CBC broadcaster from Quebec. Married to French-born Jean-Daniel Lafond, and mother of  Marie-Eden (b. 1999). She is (b. 1957-).

2007-14 Governor-General Dame Louise Lake-Tack, Antigua and Barbuda

A former nurse and magistrate from 1995. (b. 1944-).

2008-14 Governor-General Dame Dr Quentin Bryce, Australia
Former lawyer, academic and human rights advocate, Federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner, founding chair and Chief Executive Officer of the National Childcare Accreditation Council and Governor of Queensland 2003-08. (b. 1942-)

2012-14 Temporary Deputy to the Governor General
2014- Governor General Dame Marguerite Pindling, Bahamas
Widow of Sir Lynden Pindling (1930-2000) who was Prime Minister of the Colony of Bahamas 1967-73 and of independent Bahamas 1973-92. (b. 1932-).

2012 Acting Governor-General Sandra Mason, Barbados (May-June)
She is a judge of the Supreme Court.
2013- Governor-General Dame Cécile La Grenade, Grenada
Founder and chief executive of La Grenade Industries (b. 1952-).

2014- Deputy Governor General Susan Dougan, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Former Chief Education Officer and Cabinet Secretary until 2013. Acting Governor General on numerous occations.

2016- Governor General-Dame Patsy Reddy, New Zealand
Lawyer, Chairperson of the New Zealand Film Commission involved in a number of non-governmental organisations, particularly in the arts and gender equality. Married to Sir David Gascoigne. (b. 1952-).

2 October 2017 - Governor General-Julie Payette, Canada
Julie Payette CC CMM COM CQ CD (born October 20, 1963) is a Canadian businesswoman, former astronaut, engineer, and the current Governor General of Canada, the 29th since Canadian Confederation. Payette has completed two spaceflights, STS-96 and STS-127, logging more than 25 days in space. She served as chief astronaut for the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), and has served as capsule communicator at NASA Mission Control Center in Houston

Last update 04.10.17

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