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There are few, if any, fields more male-dominated than the National Football League.
To give you an idea of how seemingly closed-off professional football jobs are to women, consider this: The NFL has just one female referee and one female assistant coach, according to CNN Money.
But that may soon change.
The NFL says it’s taking steps to increase the number of women working in male-dominated football jobs, like coaching, officiating, athletic training and scouting. One of those steps is to host a job fair specifically for women before the Super Bowl in 2017, says CNN Money.
According to ESPN, the NFL also recently hired former women’s pro tackle football player Sam Rapoport to fill its new director of football development position, which is aimed at finding ways to increase women’s presence in football-related jobs. Rapoport tells ESPN:
“My role is to create programming to show [women] that the pipeline is open to them and create that pipeline for females to enter into positions that were traditionally held by men.”
The league has also created a Rooney Rule for women in front-office jobs, which helps ensure that women are interviewed for any executive-level job openings, according to ESPN.
A 2013 NFL-commissioned study found that nearly half (45 percent) of NFL fans are women. Females also comprise one-third of its television viewers.
The NFL finally began focusing on women after the league was blasted for how it handled a well-publicized domestic violence episode involving star NFL player Ray Rice.
Rapoport tells ESPN that women face an uphill battle scoring a job in the male-dominated football world. She wants to change that.
“We didn’t grow up in the male tackle football world, so we don’t have a friend who is a coach, or, ‘I played for him, so he’ll recommend me for a job.’
“That’s a reason this position exists, and that’s a big-time focus for me, just connecting owners and general managers to women who are very qualified and very passionate and ready to go.”
What do you think of the NFL’s commitment to increasing the number of women working in football jobs? Sound off below or on our Facebook page.