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Women fighting for NFL careers in a league dominated by men (USA)

As tens of millions of people tune in to watch the Super Bowl on Sunday, nearly half the viewers are expected to be female. The NFL struggled this season with its response to player protests and cases of domestic violence and sexual harassment. Now it’s working to get more women working in the league.

From high school all the way up to college and the NFL, football sidelines are dominated by men. But in communities across the country, the game is increasingly being played, coached and managed by women. And the NFL is helping those women get on the path to a career in the game they love, reports CBS News correspondent Jan Crawford.

Fifty women, selected from hundreds of applicants, are fighting for a career on a field traditionally run by men.

Anne Doepner is a lifelong Minnesota Vikings fan – and one of the pioneers, rising from executive assistant to the team’s director of football administration.

“I’ve been challenged about the fact that I want to do this job, to my face. You know, I’ve had people say, ‘Why do you want to do this?'” Doepner said. “‘And Why not?’ is what I say back. … I think that a lot of women think that, that it’s not a possibility or not something they would naturally consider doing because they don’t see other women doing it.”

Women make up roughly half of all NFL fans but currently just a third of league employees – and they’re have been no female head coaches or general managers.

Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera has seen firsthand another issue: the league’s struggles with workplace misconduct. This year Panthers owner Jerry Richardson was forced to step aside, appointing Tina Becker as his replacement, now one of the NFL’s top female executives.

“There are jobs for women involved in the NFL and they’re not on the outside, they’re on the inside. They’re making decisions,” Rivera said.

In the two-day forum, the women are learning the finer points of coaching, scouting players, and the importance of dreaming big. Crawford sat down with four of the women to talk about breaking through football’s gender barrier.





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