They are NFL firsts: Three strong women in three major roles with the Dallas Cowboys and beyond.

'I think it needs to be said that 46 percent of our fans are female, so I think the voice that we have and the perspective that we can give and that we share with out viewers, our writers, and our fans is very relevant,' said Charlotte Jones Anderson, chief brand officer and executive vice president of the Cowboys, and now also chair of the NFL Foundation.

She juggles children and a high-powered job, admitting that every day is a balancing act.

'Every time I wake up, the things I have to sacrifice for not being there at everything for them...well I hope I'm making them proud,' Jones Anderson said.

Charean Williams is a writer for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and the first female to have a vote in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. So does she have to know her subject a little better in a male-dominated profession?

'Oh probably,' she said. 'Most of the guys didn't play football, and if they did, they played through high school and that was it, and they don't necessarily know any more about the game than you do, but I do think there is a level where you have to prove yourself a little more and gain that respect.'

Now covering her 20th NFL season, Williams has gained that respect.

During her first year on the sidelines, Cowboys great Michael Irvin even mentioned her in his Hall of Fame acceptance speech.

'He sort of gave me some credit for helping put him over the hump in his third year, and actually said in his Hall of Fame speech that I was the first female voter for the Hall of Fame,' Williams said.

'That's where men and women differ,' Jones Anderson said. 'A male reporter in her shoes would have said, 'I got Michael Irvin into the Hall of Fame.' ... She did; she was a significant voice of getting him into the Hall of Fame,' Jones Anderson said.

Then there is Kristi Scales, the first female sideline reporter, working for the Dallas Cowboys Radio Network. This is her 23rd year.

Back in the 90s, Scales was one of only a few ladies to grace the locker room. Now, some of those players want her take on the game.

'When Roger Staubach knows your name, and you're like, 'Wow, that's really cool!' It might sound kind of shallow, but for me, it's when your heroes ask a question of you about the team, or ask your opinion about the team,' Scales said.

And as with most ladies, the most-avoided topic of all time still seems to creep into our discussions: Age.

'You have people come up to you and say, 'Oh, I've been reading you for X number of years. You're amazing in what you've been able to accomplish,' and I'm like, 'Oh, my goodness... I am old, I guess,' Williams said.

'There are players on the roster; there are rookies on the current roster that were born after my first broadcast as a producer on the Dallas Cowboys Radio Network,' Scales added.

And then there's the topic of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders.

'Every year, those girls get younger and we get older, tireder, fatter, uglier,' laughed Scales.

'Speak for yourself,' Jones Anderson interjected.

Another thing men would never really talk about is emotion. How does that play into things, with football being such a passionate game.

'I watch my father; he gets emotional probably more than most women,' Jones Anderson said. 'I think it allows you to be emotional about what you do, but when you believe in it, and you're passionate about what you do, you can't help but get emotional about it.'

And passionate these ladies are, proving this kind of success is about having a dream, a strong work ethic, and a love for the game -- enough to be first, and set a new standard.

E-mail sslater@wfaa.com

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