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MLB teams ordered to offer equal women’s clubhouse spaces

MLBOh, the ironies abound. After imposing new MiLB facilities standards calling for new and improved clubhouse spaces for women, Major League Baseball is now lecturing MLB teams for not meeting industry standards for spaces serving home and visiting female coaches and staff.

In a letter to teams from Michael Hill, the MLB senior vice president for on-field operations, MLB teams were ordered to comply with standards as soon as possible, saying that the current state of affairs in baseball is “embarrassingly below” standards.

From his memo, as first reported by ESPN:

“We have required that each club provide both home and visiting female staff that requires access to a locker room with a clean space that: (i) is in close proximity to the respective home or visiting clubhouse; (ii) is private; and (iii) includes appropriate restroom and shower facilities,” Hill wrote. “Over the first six weeks of the season, it has become clear that a number of clubs are not in compliance with these requirements, particularly with respect to hosting women on visiting teams.

“It is unacceptable that women who are traveling as part of the visiting team are not afforded accommodations that permit them to do their jobs at the same level as their male colleagues and counterparts. Many clubs’ female facilities fall embarrassingly below the high standards befitting a member of a visiting traveling party of a major league organization. They also create an untenable working environment for women, some of whom are now choosing to not travel to certain cities with their club on the road,” he wrote.

“Clubs that do not provide appropriate workplace accommodations for personnel regardless of gender violate MLB regulations, directly deprive women of equal access to participate in our great game, and discourage qualified women from participating in baseball roles traditionally held by men,” he said.

The past few seasons have seen a few historic milestones reached when it comes to women in baseball, including the naming of Kim Ng as first GM of an MLB team, the San Francisco Giants’ Alyssa Nakken as first female on-field coach, and the Tampa Tarpons’ Rachel Balkovec as first manager of an MiLB team. They were the first, but they certainly won’t be the last, and it’s incumbent on pro baseball to recognize the trend and accommodate the growing number of women in the game. MLB took over MiLB in part to control facilities and smartly included upgraded women’s spaces in the current ballpark specs. Now it’s time for MLB teams to meet the same standards.