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Kim Ng and the Female Sports Fan

Pic: Getty

I started my first professional job in the mid-1990's. It was a male-dominated advocacy organization, and my four-person department was the only one headed by a woman. The other three of us were all people of color--two women and a man, and literally the only non-white employees in the entire company. My boss was a trailblazer in that way--she wanted the best staff, but also the most diverse staff. We all felt like we had something to prove, especially since there were always whispers of our white male-dominated Board of Directors trying to find ways to outsource what our department did.

They never figured out how to do it. Our male CEO protected us and we succeeded. We fought for them even though they didn't love us back. I rose through the ranks as my boss did and eventually wound up running the department when she was promoted to Vice President of the company. It allowed me to learn how to navigate the worst of the professional world, all while becoming a pretty good lobbyist and manager so I could move on to a much better work environment.

Now I have a 12 year old daughter of my own. She's never even thought there was anything she couldn't achieve because my husband and I never taught her otherwise. For about 5 years now her life goal has been working in space exploration--her aptitudes are in engineering, geology and math. Sadly, though, she's reaching the age where we feel like we have to teach her about things like discrimination and sexism, because we know she'll start to encounter it. It's frankly inevitable, whether we wish it was or not, and no matter how brilliant she is.

It's for young girls like my daughter that Kim Ng's achievement as the first General Manager of a men's professional sports team is so important. Ng has worked for 30 years in professional men's baseball "paying her dues" to get a job that men with similar trajectories like Theo Epstein and Brian Cashman were offered when they were in their late 20's and early 30's. And even with her resume, you still get knuckleheads like this questioning her qualifications simply because she has a vagina:

That dude can mute it all he wants (and it's probably a bot anyway), but the only difference between her and Theo when he got his first job is about 20 years of experience and a dong. Which is sad, but exactly why my daughter still needs to know she'll have to work harder to get that job at NASA than some dude who has less experience and/or brainpower than she does. Because penis power or something.

But every Kim Ng makes it a little easier on women in the workplace--easier to get that job and less likely to have to prove they know their stuff just because it's a male-dominated field. For every woman who's had baseball or any other sport mansplained to her, Kim Ng is proof that our little pea brains can, in fact, comprehend the nuances of not only sports themselves, but the business of running a franchise. Ms. Ng has yet to prove that she can be successful as a General Manager. If she doesn't bring the Marlins back to a consistently winning status, she'll just fall within the ranks of many GM's who have taken the helm and not succeeded with a club for whatever reason. It'll have nothing to do with her gender, just like the scads of men who have also done the job who didn't fail with their penises.

However, I have a feeling she'll be just fine. And she'll have the strength of millions of sports fans of all descriptions rooting for her success.


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