Why do we only ask about qualifications when it’s a woman?


More and more women are being hired into the world of sports, and yet, a constant phrase is being used online to call each and every one of these hiring’s into question. In almost every official social media announcement that a woman was hired to take on a role in a sports organization, the phrase “Is she qualified?” is consistently thrown around.

Now, obviously, fans want the leaders of their favorite teams to be qualified, and it’s not necessarily harmful to ask this question. Fans want their teams to succeed, so they want the best leadership too, and that’s fine. But, this question is almost always targeted at women, and not at men.

Take for example the hiring of Kim Ng, who is now the general manager of the Miami Marlins. She is the first woman to ever lead a professional sports team, and the first Asian American to lead an MLB team. Overall, the general manager controls the coaching staff, player trades, and player contracts, trying to get the best players possible and drafting and developing prospects, within the budget their owner provides. This makes the general manager a crucial position, as it is critical to the success of a team.

Ng has an incredibly impressive resume, with 30 years of experience. She has been a part of the executive side of the Chicago White Sox, New York Yankees, and Los Angeles Dodgers. She has worked her way up from an intern to an assistant general manager, all before joining the Marlins. Over that time, she was involved in bringing home three World Series titles and eight playoff appearances. 

Yet, we have people like Twitter user @devonflodmand who said, “I’m not reading all up on her bc I really don’t care but what does she know about the sport?!!” Or Twitter user @Artemio97985506 who said, “Good luck to her but I will not be watching Major league baseball [sic] any longer no offense against females but I believe that was meant to be for the boys as for the boys and was for the girls as for the girls.” 

Thankfully, an overwhelming majority of the comments are filled with people excited for the future of Marlins baseball, and/or the hiring of a woman to such an important role. “Mets fan here:  Incredible hire by the Marlins.  If there’s a hint of displeasure in my voice, it’s because A) she’s not with the Mets and B) she’ll be strengthening a team in the NL East,” said Twitter user @wcrickard.

But I challenge you to find someone calling the hire of Sam Fuld, the new general manager of the Philadelphia Phillies, a hire based on “being woke,” or that Sam Fuld “doesn’t know about the sport.” This isn’t to say the hiring of Fuld was a bad hire, but rather look at the comments on that announcement. It doesn’t even compare to the criticism Ng is facing.

Fuld, similar to Ng, has never been a general manager before. This is the first time they’re both in taking the helm, yet, we don’t see anyone asking if Fuld is “qualified” to lead the Phillies, and we don’t see anyone calling this hire a “PR stunt.” It’s because those terms are only thrown around when women are hired for the very same job. 

We only see half of the population get asked about “qualifications” when they’re hired to big positions in sports organizations, and yet we wonder why we can’t grow the game of baseball. Just like that, your number of applicants are cut in half, and there is a high likelihood that potentially terrific candidates will not look into employment in baseball because of this unfairly harsh, baseless criticism that comes with the job. Beyond employment, if the sport is dominated on both the physical and business side by only men, why should women get involved? Women belong in sports, and all sports, including baseball, only stand to gain by allowing the other half of the population to participate.

Anthony Kargoll, Podcast Editor