Few sports leagues are as male-dominated as the MLB. While the NBA has made strides by hiring women as assistant coaches and front office consultants, baseball still has a diversity problem when it comes to women in the workplace. Raquel Ferreira of the Boston Red Sox front office is one of several women trying to change this.
Who is Raquel Ferreira?
Raquel Ferreira has been with the Boston Red Sox for more than two decades. Long before the NBA made headlines with female assistant coaches like Becky Hammon or referees like Violet Palmer, Ferreira was rising through the Red Sox organization.
The Rhode Island native started as an administrative assistant for the Red Sox, but slowly climbed the ladder to become one of the team’s Executive Vice Presidents. This makes her the highest-ranking woman in pro baseball.
Along the way, according to the Red Sox, Ferreira oversaw budgeting of the franchise’s major and minor league operations, which involved contract tenders, player transactions, payroll, and insurance. The daughter of immigrants, she also oversaw the Red Sox’s immigration program and Rookie Development Program in 2004.
Ferreira’s titles have included Vice President of Major and Minor League Operations, Vice President of Baseball Administration, Senior Director of Minor League Operations, Director of Minor League Operations, and Director of Minor League Administration. If this trend continues, Ferreira will add more titles to her resume.
Praise for Raquel Ferreira
Ferreira achieved the title of Senior Vice President after the previous general manager, Dave Dombrowski, left the team. Red Sox owner John Henry spoke highly of Ferreira when the topic of bringing her into the high-ranking role came up. The Undefeated covered her rise and documented the praise of Henry and others.
“The longer we spoke, the more apparent it was to me that if changes were going to occur, she had earned a leadership role,” Henry said. “She was already overseeing minor and major league operations logistically among other duties.” Henry went on to say, “She is a star who represents everything our organization values.
Former general managers Theo Epstein and Ben Cherington echoed those sentiments and praised Ferreira’s ability to treat the players as human beings, not commodities. This approach to the cutthroat world of sports seems rare, but it seems to come naturally to Ferreira .
Ferreira breaks the glass ceiling
While many young women may feel like they had no place in professional baseball, Ferreira shows that with hard work, patience, and opportunity, there is a chance. Men’s sports are notoriously tough for women to break into, but Ferreira and other women in baseball are making waves.
According to the MLB, 30% of its employees are women, but most of them work in lower-level jobs within the teams. The MLB earned a grade “C” from the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports. Aside from Ferreira, women like the New York Yankees‘ assistant general manager Jean Afterman have broken through, too. However, there’s a long way to go.