Baseball is in her blood: Meet Donna Cohen, WBSC Diversity and Inclusivity Commission's newest member

Baseball is in her blood: Meet Donna Cohen, WBSC Diversity and Inclusivity Commission's newest member
Cohen said her interest in women's baseball grew "from casual family fan to tireless advocate of opportunities for women in all aspects of the sport".

American Donna Cohen is the newest member of the WBSC Diversity and Inclusivity Commission and has already set her mind on helping on off the key WBSC Commissions help grow the game of Baseball, Softball and Baseball5.

"The WBSC is a leader in growing the game," Cohen told "I see the Diversity and Inclusivity Commission as a way to continue to foster the engagement and empowerment of women and diverse members in Baseball, Softball and Baseball5.

"I'm honoured to join such well-regarded Commission Members. Chair Beatrice Allen (Gambia), Yumilka Daysi Ruiz (Cuba), Hiroko Yamada (Japan), Marisa Matsuda (Peru) and Aracelis Leon (Venezuela) are leaders in creating sustainable gender equity."

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Cohen grew up as an avid baseball fan.

"I sat with my grandfather when I was a young girl as he watched the Boston Red Sox play baseball. Little did I know at the time, the family baseball legacy was created. We are now five generations of Red Sox fans and we still sit in the same seats as did our parents and grandparents. It’s very much a time and place for the family to gather."

She is now an advocate of women's baseball.

"My interest grew from casual family fan to tireless advocate of opportunities for women in all aspects of the sport when I met the inimitable women of the All American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL). I’ve always fought for equity and equality whether it was through my career as an attorney, or as a community volunteer or advisor to philanthropic organizations. I feel fortunate to now work with some of the most highly regarded women and men in baseball."

WBSC: There's a debate about the best opportunities to develop women's baseball. Are you in favour of mixed-gender teams or pure women's leagues?

Cohen: "I believe if you put four people in a room and ask them this very same question, you will get four different answers. Toni Stone and Mamie Peanut Johnson played successfully in the Negro Leagues, and there are women playing today in high school, college and pro leagues- all mixed-gender teams. On the other hand, many prefer that women have a league of their own. I believe women who love the game will play wherever the opportunity presents itself, and they will play a strategic and effective game whether in a league of their own or, as you put it – a mixed-gender team."

WBSC: How inspiring is it to see several female professional coaches in the US Major and Minor Leagues?

Cohen: "It's absolutely fantastic! Each one learned their craft, worked hard, persevered, earned the spot for which they were hired, and I root for their success. Since Justine Siegal became the first woman to coach in an MLB organization in 2015, there has been slow and continuing progress, including several women now coaching in 2020. I don’t want to forget huge kudos to Kim Ng, our first woman to become a general manager of a Major League Baseball Team."

WBSC: You are involved in the Red Sox All Women's Fantasy Camps?

Cohen: "We have what has been termed The Baseball Sisterhood at our Fantasy Camp. Campers range in age from 21-78 years old with varying experience in the game. Some never played, some played softball, and some have quite a bit of experience. Each camper has the same opportunity to experience what it's like to be a professional ballplayer with access to the same facilities as the Boston Red Sox players. We proudly boast some of the top Red Sox alumni and prominent women in baseball who serve as our coaches. Additional special coaching comes from the women of the AAGPB, who throw, catch, and take batting practice and share incredible stories with the campers. For five days, these women get to feel like major leaguers. The camp has sold out every year so far! I am grateful to the Boston Red Sox for this opportunity and for acknowledging the participation of women in the sport."

WBSC Commissions