WNBA still #1 in racial and gender hiring practices

CHARLOTTE, NC (AP) — The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport announced Wednesday that the WNBA has received an A for its overall racial and gender practices for 2022. That includes an A+ for racial and gender hiring an A for gender intake, according to the annual report.

Richard Lapchick, director of the institute and lead author of the annual report, said the WNBA continues to lead the way with inclusive racial and gender hiring practices across all professional leagues. The report marked the 18th consecutive year that the WNBA has received at least an A for its overall race, gender and grades combined.

“It’s pretty amazing,” Lapchick told the Associated Press. “It’s a great model for other sports leagues. … Shows a commitment from above, from the assessor down. And it comes as Brittney Griner is home.”

The WNBA has an A+ racial rating in the following categories: players, coaches, assistant coaches, the WNBA league office and professional team staff, according to the report. The lowest grade for racial hiring practices was for team presidents, where he received a C-.

The WNBA received an A+ for gender hiring in seven categories: head coaches, assistant coaches, WNBA league office, team presidents, team vice presidents and above, team managers to senior directors, and professional team personnel. Their lowest grades were Bs in the team owners and general managers categories.

The institute also evaluates the racial and gender hiring practices of four men’s professional leagues: the National Football League, National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball and Major League Soccer, along with the WNBA.

The only men’s league close to the WNBA was the NBA, which earned an A for racial hiring practices this year.

The WNBA received the most A’s with 14 in the men’s professional leagues and the fewest votes below an A with five.

Among this year’s improvements is the proportion of female coaches, which increased by 16.6 percentage points to 58.3 percent in 2022. It’s the first time since 2010 that women hold more than half of head positions championship coach.

Six of the league’s 12 head coaches are black.

The number of women holding league positions increased from 65.4% to 69.4%. The number of women in league offices in manager, senior director and professional staff roles has also increased over the past year.

Currently, 75% of team president positions in the WNBA are held by women.

“This is impressive and bodes well for the future,” Laphick said.

The percentage of people of color in positions of vice president and above increased by 5.2 percentage points to 22.4% in 2022.

The institute publishes the racial and gender scorecard to indicate areas for improvement, stagnation and regression in the composition of the professional and collegiate sports personnel and to help improve integration in front office and university athletic positions.

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