The NFL wants female candidates to be considered for every open executive job in the league office. To ensure that teams interview women for the positions, the league plans on instituting a Rooney Rule, commissioner Roger Goodell announced Thursday.
"We believe in diversity," Goodell said while speaking at the NFL's first-ever Women's Summit. "We're going to make that commitment and formalize that we, as a league, are going to do that [install a Rooney Rule] for women as well in all of our executive positions."
Goodell also pointed that the NFL currently employs two female executive vice presidents and that the league has made a number of female hires this season. Sarah Thomas was hired as an official last April and become the NFL's first female referee. In July the Cardinals hired Jen Welter as a part-time coach, making her the first female coach in NFL history. And in January, the Bills made Kathryn Smith the first female full-time coach in league history.
Goodell singled out all three women, who were all in attendance as he spoke.
Earlier this week NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino told Sirius XM that more female referees are on the way.
Goodell was on hand to introduce former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and spoke for about 10 minutes. The Summit, according to its website, is meant to "bring together prominent leaders from sports, government, academia, media and a variety of other fields to discuss how participation in sports positively influences the future success of young women both personally and professionally." The goal is to encourage female participation in youth sports.
The summit is taking place Thursday and Friday in San Francisco during the lead-up to Super Bowl 50.
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