Meet Red Sox SVP Raquel Ferreira, the highest-ranking woman in MLB

Following the firing of Dave Dombrowski, who served as president of baseball operations, the Boston Red Sox have appointed four executives to fill operation duties until a new hire is made after the season.

Among those executives, reports Yahoo! Sports, is the organization's SVP of Major and Minor League Operations Raquel Ferreira.

Ferreira, who is in her 21st year with the team, is the third woman ever to hold a senior vice president position in a baseball operations department in Major League Baseball. In her new interim role, she will now be MLB's highest-ranking woman to ever be in a team's baseball operations department during the regular season. In 2015, according to Yahoo! Sports, Kim Ng helped to run off-season operations with the Los Angeles Dodgers before a new GM was hired.

During her more than two decades with the Red Sox, Ferreira has worked her way up from administrative assistant to an executive leader in the team's front office. According to the team's website, she has focused largely on "overseeing the baseball operations budgets and the club's major and minor league operations." She was also instrumental in developing the Boston Red Sox Rookie Development program in 2004.

Currently, roughly 30% of professional baseball employees are women. Ferreira and New York Yankees assistant general manager Jean Afterman are among the highest-ranking women in the league. Renee Tirado, MLB's chief diversity officer, tells NPR that there's "no sugar-coating" the issue, as there is a lot of work that needs to be done.

Right now, the MLB has a C for gender and a B+ for racial diversity on the yearly report card issued by The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports. To improve its grades, the league has developed a Diversity Pipeline Program and a fellowship program to increase its hiring of women and people of color.

In addition to the MLB, other sports leagues like the NFL and NBA have put forth efforts to get more women in front office positions. This year, the NFL held its third annual Women's Careers in Football Forum, where 40 participating women networked with hiring managers and football decision-makers to get advice on how to succeed in the sport professionally. Over the past two years, the NFL says that 19 women who have gone through the program have earned employment opportunities with nine NFL clubs, six colleges/universities and three Alliance of American Football teams.

Similarly, the NBA, which earned an A+ for racial hiring and a B for gender hiring, says that it's continuing to make progress towards a more equal workforce, despite being a few steps ahead of its NFL and MLB peers. Earlier this year, NBA commissioner Adam Silver spoke openly about his plan for at least half of the league's newly-hired referees to be women.

"I'm not sure how it was that it remained so male-dominated for so long, because it's an area of the game where physically, certainly, there's no benefit of being a man, as opposed to a woman when it comes to refereeing," The New York Times reports him saying. Silver added that there is also "no reason why women shouldn't be coaching men's basketball."

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