Women account for about a third of judges in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania courts | TribLIVE.com

Women account for about a third of judges in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania courts

Rita Hathaway, president judge of the Westmoreland County Common Pleas Court
Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts
Women make up 30 percent of active judges in Pennsylvania courts.
Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts
Women make up 30 percent of judges in Pennsylvania courts.

Women comprise 30 percent of the state’s judiciary, with the figure being slightly higher with the current makeup of the Westmoreland County Common Pleas Court bench.

The county has three women judges — Rita Hathaway, Michele Bononi and Meagan Bilik-DeFazio — among the court’s nine working judges. There are two vacancies.

March is Women’s History Month.

Judge Donetta Ambrose, now a federal senior district judge in Pittsburgh, became Westmoreland County’s first woman judge when she took office in the 1980s.

Hathaway is the first woman to serve as president judge in Westmoreland County. She has served as a judge for 22 years after becoming the third woman ever elected to the bench in the county.

“It’s like you don’t even think about women in any profession anymore,” said Hathaway, one of 14 women who serve as president judges in counties around the state. “What’s wonderful is I think a woman can enter any profession now and it’s not limited. I’ve never found people looked at me differently because I am a female judge.”

By-the-numbers look at women judge’s in Pennsylvania:

One in three

Active judges on the Common Pleas Court bench are women (134)

One in four

Judges on state District Courts are women (128)


Women among 7 state Supreme Court justices


Women among 14 Superior Court judges


Women among 9 Commonwealth Court judges

Source: Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts

Rich Cholodofsky and Deb Erdley are Tribune-Review staff writers. You can contact Rich at 724-830-6293 or [email protected] You can contact Deb at 724-850-1209, [email protected] or via Twitter @deberdley_trib.

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