Huge Barbie Announcement Blows One NFL Coach Away

As "Barbie" finds itself sitting pretty in the company of the highest-grossing movies of all time, there are two companies who must be breathing a sigh of relief. Considering the financial struggles that Warner Bros. Discovery and Mattel have been dealing with, "Barbie" is a much-needed win. As for Mattel, the toymaker is taking advantage of its time in the limelight by highlighting a career path that it hopes will welcome more women into the fold in the coming years.

As reported by Forbes, Mattel has chosen Women in Sports for its 2023 Barbie Career of the Year. Though this might seem like well-worn territory for the company, with many sports-related Barbies emerging over the years, the emphasis here is key. The four dolls that are being highlighted work jobs that fall on the periphery of sports, including general manager, coach, referee, and sports reporter.

"I was blown away," said Dr. Jen Welter, who is both the first female running back in men's professional football and the NFL's first-ever female coach, having worked for the Arizona Cardinals in the 2015 preseason. "As a little girl, I didn't have this. Now a little girl takes her out of the box and can see herself doing that. I never had that in football throughout my career."

There's definitely more room for women in sports careers

While women have had anything but an easy fight into countless occupations over the last hundred years, the world of sports can be particularly slow to embrace change. Still, those of us who have grown up watching TV over the last few decades have undoubtedly begun to see some changes in who we see reporting the sports news.

However, it's certainly much rarer to see women coaching teams or serving as the general manager, especially outside of leagues specifically for women like the WNBA. For instance, the NFL only has female coaches in a few select positions across the entire league, and the numbers are similarly low in the NBA.

The same goes for referees, who are especially underrepresented on the female side. While there are pioneers in some of these fields, like Katie Sowers, formerly of the San Francisco 49ers, and ex-San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon, both leagues could stand to improve their inclusivity in the coming years. This is something that Mattel can hopefully help change with its latest doll release, as the Barbie brand has a long history of showing women that they belong everywhere in the world, even if their inevitable arrival isn't always welcomed by the old boys' club.