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“The sports industry is and always has been a male-dominated industry,’ said Matt Powell, an industry analyst for The NPD Group. “Consequently, the sports industry has struggled in growing the women’s business” — and is leaving “a significant amount of business on the table.”

Under Armour says 48 percent of its global workforce of more than 14,000 are women, and females account for about 25 percent of its vice presidents. The numbers of women thin out markedly near the top. Kerry Chandler, the chief human resources officer, is the lone female listed among the 11 executive officers on the company’s investor relations web page. Two of the company’s 10 directors are women.

“The industry is male-dominated,” said Adrienne Lofton, Under Armour’s senior vice president for global brand management. “And that is a hangover from many, many years of sort of the old standard of what it looks like to live and work in sports.

While Under Armour began in football, it has expanded far beyond the gridiron, making products for all major sports, and activities as diverse as running, hunting, working out and going to the mall. The company has invested hundreds of millions of dollars buying fitness and health-tracking apps.

Under Armour has long sought inroads in the women’s space. The company aired its first women’s commercial — featuring Heather Mitts of the U.S. national soccer team — in 2005, and signed champion skier Lindsey Vonn to an endorsement deal the following year.

Under Armour reached $1 billion in women’s sales in 2016 out of $4.8 billion total revenues. But while the company called the $1 billion figure a “milestone,” the share has stayed mostly in the 20 to 30 percent range for years, even as the company has grown.

Altering consumers’ initial impressions of a brand can be a challenge. After Under Armour burst onto the market 21 years ago, the company’s early ads featured sculpted, grunting men lifting weights in barren gyms, and a coach bellowing at players in a low growl.

“It’s certainly made some inroads with women and to diversify,” he said. But “it’s still viewed by most people as a very masculine brand. They have integrated some very successful women (as endorsers), but it’s still a very male-dominated lineup.”

The company’s celebrity athletes include Olympic swimming icon Michael Phelps, golfing champion Jordan Spieth and NBA star Stephen Curry. Under Armour retains a significant presence in football and has even signed deals to outfit college football officials from the major conferences on game days. One of the company’s most prominent endorsers — New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady — is a football player, and Plank’s management style borrows heavily from his days as a special teams player and running back at the University of Maryland.

Under Armour began as the answer to a football problem. Plank found that the T-shirt he wore under his gear would quickly become drenched with sweat. He created the moisture-wicking synthetic undergarment that became the company’s signature product.

At Under Armour, everyone is a “teammate,” interns are “rookies” and orientation is “preseason training.” Just as some college coaches won’t utter the name of their chief rival, the ubercompetitive Plank rarely says “Nike” in public. The name of Under Armour’s vast new office space in Baltimore — “Building 37” — is a nod to Plank’s college jersey number.

Three former Under Armour employees said the scarcity of women in the upper echelon was noticeable. The former employees, who worked at varying levels at the company’s headquarters, spoke on condition of anonymity because they did not want to hurt their careers.

One, a woman, expressed a sense of women being unable to crack into the inner sanctum. She also said she was struck by the tone at Plank’s annual Preakness-eve parties, hosted at his Baltimore County horse farm for VIP guests, but attended by some Under Armour employees as part of a “hospitality weekend” to promote the company’s brand and the city.

As for cigars, she said: “I requested cigars because I smoke them. When I’m hanging out and I’m having a drink, bourbon is my favorite. So saying that is a male thing is exactly the point of why we have the (marketing) campaigns we have, because that is a stereotype.”

Workplace image is critical to Under Armour and Nike because they frequently compete for the same executives, designers and other employees. Under Armour — 32 years younger than its rival — is in perennial recruitment mode because it is growing so quickly. The company is developing a new campus on the waterfront that could support as many as 10,000 employees, nearly five times the current number.