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WNBA named industry leader in diversity hiring

The Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) has retained its position as a leader in racial, gender and overall diversity hiring compared to other major US professional sports leagues.

WNBA named industry leader in diversity hiring

The annual report, released by The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (Tides), awarded the league with an A-plus grade in race and gender hiring, which covered the 2020 season and marked the 16th year of the WNBA receiving at least A grades in each category.

Tides' study examines positions from the team to WNBA headquarter level, including presidents and chief executives, professional staff, coaches and head trainers.

Overall, the WNBA received a 97.4 score, up from 94.8 that it was awarded in 2019. The increase was seen through gender hiring (98.0). Its racial hiring score also grew from 95.6 to 96.7.

The report also uncovered that women held 58.3 per cent of team president or chief executive roles at the WNBA. Additionally, women held 35 of the 69 team vice president or higher positions (50.7 per cent), which is the highest percentage in the history of the study taking place.

The area of general managers and head coaches was identified as an area of improvement for the WNBA, with only three women working as general managers and only five out of 12 head coaching positions.

The study also covers other major US leagues, including the National Basketball Association (NBA) who returned a A-minus grade; Major League Baseball (MLB) managing a B-grade, alongside Major League Soccer (MLS); and the National Football League (NFL) who received a B-minus grade overall.

“At the WNBA, we’re encouraged to have had many all-time highs in this year’s Race and Gender Report Card,” said WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert.

“That said, we remain committed to continuing to be one of the most inclusive and progressive leagues, and will remain vigilant in our focus on developing league and team cultures that promote diverse hiring at all levels.”

Author: Jake Wilkin