Does equality mean ignoring half of workforce?

Would any empoyer automatically exclude half of the work force when searching for the best employee?

Notre Dame women’s basketball coach Muffett McGraw recently made comments that suggested just that.

When asked if she would hire a man as an assistant coach, she said “no” in an article at thinkprogress.com.

“People are hiring too many men,” she said in the article. “Women need the opportunity. They deserve the opportunity.”

That statement is obvious. No one is disagreeing with that. Granted there has been hiring in every phase of life that has favored men over women.

Society should be past that.

Hiring the best available candidate should be any employer’s priority. To unilaterally refuse to look at a qualified candidate because of gender, race or any other biased reason is foolish.

For the most part, men coach men so why shouldn’t women coach women?

Mainly because exclusivity is narrow-minded. While it is a natural wish, it is not practical. It takes time to have the amount of women in the profession because of past hiring practices.

Change is always slow, but it is happening.

In the NBA, the San Antonio Spurs and the Sacramento Kings have female assistant coaches. In the NFL, the Arizona Cardinals and Buffalo Bills have female assistant coaches. In MLB, the Seattle Mariners and Oakland A’s have female assistant coaches.

It is an achievable goal, but it should not be a goal that is aimed for in exclusion of all other candidates.

“When you look at men’s basketball, 99 percent of the jobs go to men, why shouldn’t 100 or 99 percent of the jobs in women’s basketball go to women?” McGraw said last Thursday in a press conference during the Final Four.

Men have been in positions of coaching longer and have more experience. So women need the jobs to get experience. Granted that is hard if they don’t get hired.

Washington High School has a female coaching its male soccer team and a male coaching its female soccer team. Both currently have winning records.

It is good the administration hired the best coach for the job and did not rely on McGraw’s philosophy of same- sex coaches.

The times are changing and that is a good thing, but not fast enough for McGraw.

“I’m getting tired of the novelty of the first female govenor of this state, the first female African-American mayor of this city,” McGraw said.

Maybe she doesn’t realize that to have a second, there has to be a first. The more that happens, the better.

The more that is publisized, the more role models young girls have to look up to, regardless of their field or career choice.

University of Oregon guard Sabrina Ionescu applauded McGraw for speaking up, although she doesn’t necassarily agree with her.

“I think those that are most qualified should be in that position regardless of gender,” the All-American said.

In 1972, just prior to Title IX, women held 90 percent of the head coaching positions for women’s teams. Title IX forced colleges and universities (at least those that receive federal funds) to provide equal funding for men’s and women’s sports. Although this was a big boon for female college athletes, it had the exact opposite impact on female coaches. When Title IX was enacted, money flooded into women’s sports, and universities were forced to offer significantly higher salaries to coaches for these teams. Suddenly, men were interested in these jobs. And they were hired.

Women are making progress.

Women hold 8.6 percent of the head coach positions of men’s Division I teams. Women held 10.6 percent of the positions in Division II and 12.2 percent in Division III.

Women make up 10.5 percent of Division I athletic directors.

The more that number climbs, the more other numbers will climb because they are hiring the best candidate for the job.