I had a really well thought out post for the "F Word" linkup today, until San Antonio hired the NBA's first female assistant coach. At first, I was so pumped. They hired the first female assistant coach in the NBA EVER! Then I thought, wait. It's 2014. How are we just now hiring the first ever female assistant coach? Right now there's a really big push to get more young girls interested in the STEM programs [science, technology, engineering, mathematics], but it makes me questions why more young girls aren't being encouraged to pursue a career in sports.
The reaction when I tell people "I have a degree in Sport Management and I work in baseball" is always one of two things: oh that's cool, I bet it's all fun all the time! or oh so you can marry one of those ballplayers right? First of all, how is the latter an appropriate way to respond to someone's career choice? Do you ask female lawyers if they're only in it to marry a lawyer? Contrary to popular belief, I did not accrue a heap of student loan debt to try to marry a baseball player.
When I first realized I wanted to pursue a career in baseball, I started to do my research on women in the field. The MiLB team I worked for at the time had a pretty evenly balanced male to female staff, so I assumed that's how it would be everywhere. I was not correct. There has never been a female GM in Major League Baseball. Kim Ng is an absolute rock star, but she has been interviewed for no less than four GM positions, twice for the Padres. I recently read an outstanding article about her on Fox Sports -- it discusses how she's unfazed by these situations and she's just going to continue doing her job and doing it well.
She goes on to say that she doesn't mean to be a role model, but that's exactly the reason she's such a great one. She doesn't do her job to break the glass ceiling, she does her job because she's passionate about it. She doesn't let anyone tell her she can't do something because she's a girl. That's why I look up to her and strive to do my job well regardless of the "boys club" mentality.
Fortunately, MiLB isn't facing the "never been a female GM" issue, and I had the pleasure of working with one of the current female GM's my first post-grad year in baseball. There's even a Women In Baseball seminar held every year at the Baseball Winter Meetings.
I believe we need more female role models in professional sports so that young girls know that they can thrive in the sports industry just as well as any man. I have been lucky enough to work with and for countless strong women in this industry and I will continually strive to become one of those strong women.
Hopefully Becky Hammon will be the first of many females to earn higher leadership roles in I suppose this does fall into the "feminism" category, so I'm going to go ahead and link up. Who is your career role model? Check out the Women in Sports Foundation for even more strong women.