American football’s NFL will introduce a rule to require teams to interview female candidates for “executive positions”.
It follows the Rooney Rule, which was was established in 2003 and requires NFL teams to interview at least one minority candidate for head coaching or senior football operation jobs.
Jen Welter coached the Arizona Cardinals in pre-season, while Kathryn Smith recently became the first full-time female NFL coach when hired by the Buffalo Bills.
At boardroom level, Katie Blackburn is the long-serving executive vice-president of the Cincinnati Bengals, while Amy Trask was the Oakland Raiders’ chief executive officer from 1997 until 2013.
There is also a female NFL game official – Sarah Thomas.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, speaking at the league’s Women’s Summit in the build-up to Super Bowl 50, said: “We believe in diversity. We believe that we’re better as an organisation when we have good people at the table.
“You can see that progress is being made. And our commitment is we have something called the Rooney Rule, which requires us to make sure, when we have an opening, that on the team or the league level we are going to interview a diverse slate of candidates.
“Well we’re going to make that commitment and we’re going to formalise that we, as a league, are going to do that for women as well in all of our executive positions. Again, we’re going to keep making progress here and make a difference.”