Many women have broken the glass ceiling in the past year by closing the position gaps in male-dominated industries. With the advent of women taking key roles in politics and CEOs of major organizations, the sport’s arena has also seen some significant changes in hiring practices. In sports, women are now officiating at the professional level, they are having an impact as players in traditional roles attributed to men, and they are accepting the reigns in professional sports team management.
The following are just a few notable female trailblazers in the world of athletics:
Natalie Sago and Jenna Schroeder became the first female NBA referees to officiate the same game together. Both had officiated in minor league games but never as a tandem in the big leagues.
Becky Hammon became the first female head coach in the NBA for the San Antonio Spurs when Gregg Popovich was ejected during a game against the Los Angeles Lakers. Although the Spurs lost the game, Becky proved her ability to lead an NBA team as a head coach.
The NFL announced that Maia Chaka will be the first female referee in the fall of 2021. She will join Sarah Thomas as the only women referee’s in the league.
Katie Sowers became the first woman to coach in the National Football League. Sowers was hired as an offensive assistant coach by the San Francisco 49ers with a special emphasis in working with the receiving corps.
Sarah Fuller became the first woman to not only play but score in a major college football game. A place-kicker for Vanderbilt University, Fuller scored twice in a game against Tennessee. The ball is now in the Collegiate Hall of Fame.
Kim Ng became the first female General Manager in Major League Baseball when she accepted the position for the Miami Marlins. Ng’s career path to the GM was impressive from starting out as an intern with the Chicago White Sox to a variety of managerial positions with a wider variety of MLB teams.
While the above list of trailblazers is impressive, I look forward to the day when women in sports is just commonplace without the need for fanfare.