According to The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (Tides), the WNBA leads all United States professional sports leagues in diversity hiring after receiving an A-plus overall report card grade for 2020.
Tides' study examined job positions at the WNBA's headquarters as well as at team level, including team presidents and chief executives, professional staff, coaches and head trainers. It also reviewed data submitted by the league, covering players from September and other positions such as owners, general managers and coaches from December last year.
The results showed that the WNBA has women in 60.9 percent of professional positions, with 50.0 percent of its professional positions held by people of colour.
The WNBA was handed an overall 97.4 score, up from the 94.8 it amassed in the 2019 report. Helping the increase was a four-point leap in gender hiring (98.0). The league's racial hiring score grew slightly year-over-year (YoY) from 95.6 to 96.7.
Tides also revealed that women held 58.3 percent of team president or chief executive roles at the WNBA, the first time they made up the majority of that category. In addition, women held 35 of the 69 team vice president or higher positions (50.7 percent), the biggest percentage in the history of the study.
This marked the 16th consecutive year that the WNBA received a grade of A or better from Tides.
"At the WNBA, we're encouraged to have had many all-time highs in this year's Race and Gender Report Card," said WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert.
"That said, we remain committed to continuing to be one of the most inclusive and progressive leagues, and will remain vigilant in our focus on developing league and team cultures that promote diverse hiring at all levels."
When comparing the WNBA's overall grade to the other five professional leagues in Tides' report, the NBA was next in line after receiving an A-minus grade. MLB and MLS both received a B, while the NFL was given a B-minus.