The NFL just hired their first female ref. Here's why that's huge news.

She's the NFL's first female referee, and here's how she shattered football's glass ceiling.

This football season, there'll be an unfamiliar face running up and down the sidelines: referee Sarah Thomas.

Thomas will become the first woman hired by the NFL as a full-time official, an achievement more than a decade in the making.

Sarah Thomas officiated her first high school football game 16 years ago. Building on her experience, she gradually rose through the football ranks.


By 2007, Thomas had worked her way up to officiating at the top tier of college football. In 2009, she became the first woman to work a bowl game. In 2013, she earned a place alongside 20 other finalists vying for a spot refereeing at the highest level in football: the NFL.

In a 2013 interview, Thomas told a CBS reporter that she never set out to shatter the glass ceiling — but she has. Over and over and over again.

Thomas won't be the first woman to officiate a game, but she will be the first hired full-time by the NFL.

In 2012, the NFL and the NFL Referees Association were involved in a contract dispute and, unfortunately, were not able to reach an agreement before the season started. The NFL used non-union replacement refs, one of whom was Shannon Eastin, a lower-level college ref who hadn't gone through the NFL's development program.

On September 9, 2012, Eastin worked her first NFL game between the St. Louis Rams and the Detroit Lions.

On September 26, 2012, the NFL and NFLRA came to an agreement, and Eastin's time in the NFL was over.

Women have been making themselves heard in the male-dominated sporting world — especially in recent years.

In 1997, Violet Palmer became the first woman to referee an NBA basketball game.

That same year, Dee Kantner also officiated NBA games, and for five years, the two were the only women on the court. In 2002, however, Kantner was fired by the NBA, leaving just Palmer. In 2014, the NBA hired Lauren Holtkamp, making her just the third full-time referee in the league's history.

In total Palmer has refereed more than 900 NBA games.

Because of the hard work of people like Palmer, other women have been able to work their way through the ranks.

Palmer knew that, as a pioneer, she had a target on her back. She managed to silence criticism by being one of the league's top referees.

In 2014, basketball's San Antonio Spurs hired Becky Hammon as a full-time assistant coach.

Hammon's hire made her the first woman brought on as a full-time coach in NBA history.

Prior to her hire, Hammon played 16 years in the WNBA, and she was a two-time representative of the Russian Olympic team (2008, 2012).


Like Hammon and Palmer, Sarah Thomas got where she is through years of hard work.

No one can — in good faith — look at someone who's devoted more than a quarter of their life to making it to the top level and argue that she's not fit to hold the job. Thomas climbed the ranks of football officiating, and now she's finally getting her shot. This is a huge achievement absolutely deserving of celebration.

Watch a CBS report on Sarah Thomas below:

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On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

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Cadbury has removed the words from its Dairy Milk chocolate bars in the U.K. to draw attention to a serious issue, senior loneliness.

On September 4, Cadbury released the limited-edition candy bars in supermarkets and for every one sold, the candy giant will donate 30p (37 cents) to Age UK, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly.

Cadbury was prompted to help the organization after it was revealed that 225,000 elderly people in the UK often go an entire week without speaking to another person.

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Well Being

Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

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One of the major differences between women and men is that women are often judged based on their looks rather than their character or abilities.

"Men as well as women tend to establish the worth of individual women primarily by the way their body looks, research shows. We do not do this when we evaluate men," Naomi Ellemers Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today.

Dr. Ellers believes that this tendency to judge a woman solely on her looks causes them to be seen as an object rather than a person.

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