Story at a glance

  • The WNBA this week was awarded A+ grades for its racial and gender hiring practices, according to a scale designed by the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport, or TIDES.
  • 2021 marks the 17th consecutive year the WNBA has earned A’s for race and gender.
  • The only men’s league teams whose grades came close to the WNBA were the NBA and MLS, which both received A’s for racial hiring practices, but B’s and C’s for gender hiring practices.

The Women’s National Basketball Association this week earned a nearly perfect score for race- and gender-inclusive hiring in 2021, according to an assessment of its hiring practices.

The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport, or TIDES, on Wednesday gave the WNBA A+ grades for race and gender, as well as an A+ grade overall, according to the association’s racial and gender report card.

That marks the 17th consecutive year that the WNBA has earned at least an A for its race, gender and combined grades. The WNBA this year scored 98.3 points for racial hiring practices and 96.8 points for gender hiring practices, according to its report card.

Those grades earned the WNBA the top spot among other sports organizations, including the National Basketball Association, the National Football League, the Major League Baseball League, and the Major Soccer League, that were looked at by TIDES — a position the WNBA has held since its first report card in 2004.


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According to TIDES, in order to get an A grade, at least 30 percent of an organization’s employees or leadership must be people of color and 45 percent must not be men.

Black athletes in the WNBA increased to 74.5 percent from one year ago, according to the report, and Black head coaches increased to five in 2021 from three in 2020.

The percentage of people of color holding assistant coaching positions rose for the second consecutive season to 61.3 percent, the largest single-season increase on record. The 2021 season also marked the first time since 2000 that there were any Hispanic/Latino assistant coaches.

The 2021 season was also a record-breaking season for women in the WNBA, and the percentage of women who held assistant coaching positions rose to the highest number ever. A majority of team president positions were also held by women for the second year in a row, and 84 of 170 managers to senior directors were women.

The only men’s league teams whose grades came close to the WNBA were the NBA and MLS, which both received As for racial hiring practices, but Bs and Cs for gender hiring practices, according to TIDES.

MLB received a B+ in racial hiring practices and a C in gender hiring practices, earning a C+ grade overall. A 2021 report card was not available for the NFL, which received an overall B- in 2020.


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Published on Dec 03, 2021