Augusta National Golf Club Admits Two Women Members

BlogHer Original Post

Well, it's about time. The Augusta National Golf Club, home of golf's Masters tournament and renowned for its Men Only policy, has finally broken its nearly 80-year streak of not having any female members by admitting two women: former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and South Carolina businesswoman Darla Moore.

Condoleeza Rice - Credit Image: James Berglie/ZUMAPRESS.com

Augusta has come under fire multiple times in its history, first for not allowing black people to join. In fact the club wasn't integrated until 1990.  More recently, the Club's lack of female members drew increased scrutiny. In 2002, Martha Burk, then the chair of the National Council of Women's Organizations,  accused Augusta of sexism and was labeled a man-hater.

Just this year, the controversy began anew when IBM named Ginni Rometty to be its CEO. IBM is a corporate sponsor of the Masters, which is played at Augusta, and traditionally the Club had granted membership to sponsor companies' CEOs. This time, however, the CEO didn't have the right body parts so no invitation was extended.

Augusta's adament refusal to allow women in the past made the announcement today all the more surprising. Forty years after the Title IX legislation, Augusta finally recognized women. The same summer that the U.S. Olympic team sent more women then men to the Summer Games. And a week after the final tally showed women garnered a majority of the gold medals.

It may be a step in the right direction but Augusta is hardly being courageous or noble, they are simply doing the right thing, albeit decades too late. Please note however: one still needs to be filthy rich to pass muster.

Club chairman Billy Payne said in a statement,

This is a joyous occasion as we enthusiastically welcome Secretary Condoleezza Rice and Darla Moore as members of Augusta National Golf Club.

Really? In 2012  promoting gender equity is considered a "joyous occasion." Payne, who is on vacation and not available for comment, continued:

We are fortunate to consider many qualified candidates for membership at Augusta National. Consideration with regard to any candidate is deliberate, held in strict confidence and always takes place over an extended period of time. The process for Condoleezza and Darla was no different. These accomplished women share our passion for the game of golf and both are well known and respected by our membership. It will be a proud moment when we present Condoleezza and Darla their Green Jackets when the Club opens this fall.

 

Are we sure the two women won't be asked to wear green skirts instead?

While many applauded Augusta for finally entering the 21st century, plenty of people are still skeptical. Hopefully Rice and Moore aren't just token women but the first of many who will play and represent the esteemed club.

Would you have accepted the invitation to be admitted?

 

@jschonb
dare to dream
Also online at prettytough.com and womentalksports.com

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