I really enjoy playing golf. Well….ok…..honestly I enjoy it most of the time. When I’m playing like crap, I’ve swung what feels like 9 million times through 15 holes, I’ve lost pricey pink balls and gotten my cute shoes dirty I don’t like it so much. But still, most of the time I have fun.
It’s nice that at every club we have gone to play, I am allowed to actually play. Because I am after all a woman.
So what is the deal with Augusta National? Seriously. It’s 2012.
I don’t know if you follow golf at all or are familiar with the traditions that surround some clubs. But right now there’s a whole lot of hoopla about one particular issue. Women.
Here’s the thing: IBM is one of the major sponsors of the Master’s which is of course held at Augusta National. For nearly 30 years now the CEO of IBM has been granted a membership to the exclusive club. Now comes the snafu……the current CEO is a woman. Oh no!!(please note my sarcasm)
I can appreciate wanting to preserve the sanctity of a private country club. I get that club members want to be in a peaceful setting where they feel comfortable. I even understand that the members pay dues and therefore are entitled to some benefits. But discrimination should not be one of them.
Not until 1990 was the first African-American member allowed to join. 1990!!!! The Civil Rights Movement began around 1954. I’ve never been good at math but that kinda seems like a long time to continue the discrimination against having black members. There’s even a Civil Rights Act of 1964 that says so.
Okay, so now Augusta National has been forced to allow African-Americans as members but they missed the memo about women.
Why is it that these men are so threatened by the presence of a woman? Did you see the sign in the picture that CNN reported? It shows a demonstration by women regarding the discrimination against us and there’s a fellow…a lovely little fellow (please note sarcasm), holding a sign in the midst of these women that reads “Iron My Shirts.” Yes really, that is indeed what it says.
So back to what prompted me to write about this. Virginia Rometty is IBM’s current CEO. She has been listed as one of Fortune magazine’s “50 Most Powerful Women in Business” for SEVEN consecutive years. When Sam Palmisano stepped down as President and CEO of IBM he made a statement regarding Rometty’s promotion saying, “Ginni got it because she deserved it…..It’s got zero to do with progressive social policies” (New York Times, October 25, 2011). Ms. Rometty is clearly not the “token” woman on the board of directors…..she is excellent at what she does. She has earned her position and recognition in the business world.
I was enraged when upon reading an article about how “interesting” it would be to see what the club does with this new dilemma my eyes couldn’t help but scan the comments readers had posted. The one that made the angriest was this: “Some 1% bitch buys her way in. Excuse me while I gag….”
I typed a lengthy response to the obviously enlightened commenter (yes, that’s sarcasm) but then deleted it. My guess is he’ll never look at the article again, much less have any type of rebuttal that is worth listening to. But here are my responses to his comment in a nutshell.
1. She is not “some”….she is “the” woman. At least at IBM she is anyway.
2. Is she a part of the 1%? Yes, she most likely is; just like all the other members of Augusta National. Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and Lou Holtz are also members. Funny how he didn’t mention them in his rant.
3. The “bitch” comment. Maybe she is. But, she just may be the nicest woman you’ve ever met. As was noted in a conversation I was having earlier today (not about this subject funny enough), there is no real male equivalent to bitch. For the purpose of this argument I’m going to use prick. My guess is that a few of the current members could be described that way. Of course to be fair, the men most likely won’t achieve the same level of “prickishness” that she could be capable of because she does in fact menstruate. And we all know that women are out of control once a month (so much sarcasm).
4. Buys her way in?? Seriously? She’s the President and CEO of a major worldwide company. The same company that has been granted a membership privilege for said position for 30 years now. I could be wrong but I kinda doubt that when she earned her promotion that she said, “YES, finally, NOW I can be a member of Augusta.” I really just don’t equate buying your way in with merit. I just don’t.
5. Excuse me while I gag???? Yes I suppose the idea of fair and equal treatment of all human beings is sickening to some. There’s really nothing else to say about that.
To wrap this up, here is what I hope. I hope that Augusta National does the right thing here. It should have been done a long time ago but late is better than never. In my opinion women like Hillary Clinton and Pat Summitt should have been invited to join years ago. Women love to golf too yet there are no female only golf clubs because of course THAT would be unconstitutional.
Extend membership to Virginia Rometty, just like every other IBM CEO for the past 30 years. Do the right thing Augusta National, just do the right thing.