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Program Aims to Level the Playing Field Among Female Referees

There's no disputing that the sports industry is a male-dominated field. From the players to the front office, and even down to the referees, there are far less women involved in the sports industry than their male counterparts.

Among the officiating field, there are less than five full-time female referees in each of the professional sports leagues in the United States combined, a problem that is magnified at the local level.

According to the Los Angeles Sentinel, as of 2016, less than two percent of referees in Los Angeles were female. But there is one local program that is aiming to level the playing field.

The Women Officials Recruitment and Certification program grew out of the city's gender equity initiative. In the last two years, it has been able to successfully introduce many local women to the officiating field. By starting from the youth sports level, the department is hoping to open further doors down the line.

Virginia Beaboa is part of the latest group to receive it certification. She says that in addition to opening a new door, it has helped her in several surprising ways.

"I believe the biggest lesson for me has been to grow in my confidence as a woman, and to be sure of the calls I make," Beaboa said.

Plus, by inspiring local women to get involved, the city is also hoping to help solve the national issue of the declining number of youth referees.



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