Rooney Rule for Women: A Win For Gender Equality In The NFL?

Rooney Rule for Women: A Win For Gender Equality In The NFL?
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Women will now have better chances of getting executive positions in the NFL with Commissioner Roger Goodell’s announcement of the Rooney Rule.

Thursday saw NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announcing a Rooney Rule for women. The new policy was designed primarily to make it easier for women to landing executive roles in the league. Akin to the Rooney Rule for minorities, this new policy requires teams to also interview women who are applying for executive positions.

A Win For Gender Equality

The NFL has had a reputation as being a league for the big boys. However, women have recently been given positions of power within the league in recent years. Of course, this hasn’t applied to all teams in the league. With the new Rooney Rule for women, the NFL hopes to even the playing field for both genders.

It’s still unclear though when the new rule will be enforced. What is clear though is that it will hew to the original Rooney Rule that was initially aimed for minorities. It should also be noted that this doesn’t guarantee that women are going to be hired automatically once they apply for executive positions. Teams will still evaluate applicants based on their fit in the organization.

Rooney Rule For Women Precedents

Roger Goodell’s announcement of the Rooney Rule for Women wasn’t really unprecedented. In 2014, the NFL hired Dawn Hudson as its new chief marketing officer. Hudson previously had a successful tenure as an executive in PepsiCo.

In addition to the NFL itself, there have been teams who’ve hired women on their coaching staff. Teams like the Arizona Cardinals and Buffalo Bills have also hired women in on-field positions. Jen Welter got hired as part of the Cardinals’ coaching staff as an intern. As for the Bills, the team made history by promoting Kathryn Smith to quality control coach of its special teams. Then there was also the historic hiring of Amy Trask to helm the Oakland Raiders as its CEO in 1997.

How Women Figure in the NFL’s Expansion

I personally think that the move to level the playing field for women in the NFL isn’t just about gender equality. For years now, the NFL has been trying to target the female market. According to some pundits, American Football has essentially exhausted its male fan-base. By targeting women, the NFL hopes to expand its fan-base and by extension its revenues. It’s probably why the league hired Dawn Hudson to be its chief marketing officer.

Of course, having a woman in charge of marketing isn’t a guarantee that the league is going to be a hit with female fans. In fact, the consensus so far is that they’re doing a bad job at it. This is probably why the league decided to officially announce the Rooney Rule for Women.

Will The NFL Be Less Competitive With Women At The Helm?

In my opinion, this would have no effect on the competitiveness of teams in the NFL. Case in point would be the Raiders during Amy Trask’s tenure. Though they weren’t the best team in the field at times, they were still relatively competitive.

Ultimately, it’s going to be the men who’ll be playing out in the field. Executives, whether they’re male or female would only have to worry about talent acquisition and management. Men who worry that the NFL wouldn’t be as competitive really have unfounded fears.

What are your thoughts on the Rooney Rule for Women? Did the NFL do the right thing in mandating teams to give equal opportunities for women when hiring executives? How do you think will this affect the NFL from this point on? Be sure to tell us your thoughts on this matter in the comments section below.


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