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In honor of Women’s History Month, play-by-play commentator Beth Mowins, Cubs’ lead lab tech and minor league hitting coach Rachel Folden and Marquee Sports Network’s senior vice president of technical operations Deb Schneider joined field reporter and host Taylor McGregor for a special “Women In Baseball” panel. All four detailed the challenges of being a woman in a male-dominated field and how working in the sports media industry has many parallels to what they experienced playing sports.
“That’s the great thing about sports,” Mowins said. “As long as you can prove you’re worthy, as long as you can carve out a niche for yourself, as long as everybody else wants you on their team, because you provide something really good for the group, then you’re going to fit in.”
The discussion then entered into how specifically the sport of baseball can allow for more female representation in the future.
“I’ve had the pleasure of meeting the other women who have been hired. Rachel Balkovec being one of them,” Folden said. “She made a really good point, which was we don’t necessarily need more women working in baseball. We need more qualified people working in baseball, and we need women to be qualified for those positions. Expressing interest from a female perspective is the first step. It’s very easy to go around and say ‘You should hire a woman, you should hire a woman’. If those women aren’t qualified to hold those positions, that actually sets us back, because now we’re hiring people who aren’t qualified for the position in the first place. This visibility aspect helps a ton. The actual way it’s going to change is by more women being more interested in baseball to begin with. Turning on a Cubs game and hearing Beth’s voice is a great step. Turning on a game and seeing a woman in a uniform is a great step for that to happen, and to say ‘Oh, I guess I never thought of that, but I should. I want to do that, that looks cool.’”
Schneider echoed that sentiment, saying sometimes, the people who work to get those women on air are also jobs for women to hold.
“I think the other thing we need to do is educate young women about the sometimes less obvious opportunities out there in sports,” Schneider said. “What are the jobs out there that they don’t even know about? The operations manager, the production manager, the things that don’t necessarily get highlighted in sports but are still very rewarding, great paths to try, a way to be associated with the game to stay and keep sports alive within yourself.”
Watch the full video above as the panel also discussed their career paths, the sports media industry as a whole, women’s sports and much more.