Sat. Feb 24th, 2024

PORTLAND, Maine — For women, breaking into the male-dominated sports industry takes perseverance to overcome barriers—despite new progress.

The Maine Mariners held “Women in Sports Day” during their Sunday afternoon puck drop to help grow recognition for women in sports, whether you’re an athlete looking to play at the next level or someone hoping to score a career in a front office.

“My gender doesn’t define whether or not I can do my job,” Natalie Immediato, the team’s director of marketing, said.

Immediato, a panelist alongside four others who are involved in sports as women in Maine, encouraged inclusivity and the importance of paving a path for up-and-coming athletes and dreamers who envision themselves with a career in the industry.

The panel held an hour-long discussion celebrating achievements and acknowledging the barriers women face while entering the sports industry.

“I was told no to my face just because I was a female, even though they told me I had the best resume, and I had a really good tape. They said they couldn’t hire me because of my gender,” Emma Tiedemann said.

Tiedemann is the voice of the Sea Dogs and made history in 2021 when she became the first female announcer the team has ever had.

She said early in her career, she sent more than 200 emails out to teams looking for broadcasting internships. Out of more than a couple hundred sent emails, she only got two responses.

She said she hopes having more conversations about women in sports will break stereotypes and get more women into positions where representation is lacking.

“I think that it’s really important that teams don’t just check a box and say ‘I hired a female for this position. We’ve done our our duty. We can move on and hire a man the next time it opens up,'” Tiedemann said. “I think to build a great culture and an office to help, really, women succeed in a male-dominant industry is to help. Yes, you checked the box, but help that woman grow in the position and then hire more aside from that.”

There have been strides of growth for women’s sports in Maine as well as around the country.

Maine Footy, a women’s soccer team, kicked off its first season last spring in the United Women’s Soccer national pro-am league. Meanwhile, the Professional Women’s Hockey League is in its debut season. There are six teams in the league, including a team based out of Boston.

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