Florence Schelling is the first ever female to be granted the role of general manager for a men’s professional hockey team. Schelling, at the age of 31, had been evaluated for a GM position with SC Bern of the National League in Switzerland. The team’s CEO, Marc Luthi, expressed his decision saying “We came to the conclusion: Florence is the person we are looking for and want. Yes, Florence will be a pioneer, probably worldwide in her new role. But she’s young, fresh, she’ll bring a new perspective and break up existing structures.”
Schelling was a longtime goaltender for the Swiss National women’s team; she represented her country in 11 World Championships and participated in the Olympics four times.
Women face greater participation challenges in sport than men, where men often have control over who participates, as they own positions of power. Women are underrepresented in coaching and administration jobs in sports. This is one of the issues with gender and equity in sports today. Schelling’s acceptance as a GM for a men’s professional hockey team will pave pathways for other women and help achieve equity in sport for women. Recruiting women athletes into coaching positions is a good strategy for promoting gender equity. Although change in society may not be seen right away, Schelling’s personal empowerment will help gain awareness for the need for gender transformation in society is will overall make a change.