Despite Historic Hire, The Cardinals Have Fumbled With Gender Diversity

The Cardinals hired the NFL's first female coach, but the team has underperformed others in the NFL when it comes to putting women in senior management

Jul 28, 2015 at 6:34 PM ET

The Arizona Cardinals made history by hiring Jen Welter as the NFL’s first female coach, but when it comes to the front office, the team has had a dearth of women, according to a study on gender diversity in professional sports.

The Cardinals had just a single female vice president in 2013, according to latest available data from UCF’s Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport. That put the Cardinals in the middle of the pack, far behind frontrunners the Detroit Lions, which had four. The New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins had three female vice presidents that year, while nine other NFL teams had two. Another nine of the 32 teams in the NFL had no female vice presidents in 2013, according to the data.

As for the NFL itself, the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport awarded it a C- grade for gender hiring practices in its 2014 NFL Racial and Gender Report Card. Women accounted for just 15 percent of the senior staff, or 39 out of a total of 298 vice presidents. The NFL fared worse than both the NBA and MLB in their 2015 report cards–those leagues had grades of B+ and C/C+ respectively, for their gender hiring practices.

The 2015 figures for the teams are due out in September. We reached out to the Cardinals to ask about any hiring of women at the VP level since the 2014 data was compiled, and we will update the story if we hear back.