Women At Augusta National
In the early stages of the 2nd decade of the 21st century, the Augusta National Golf Club has made a distinctly early 20th century move by allowing female membership to their exclusive organization.
The two newest members (they will officially join in October) are former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and South Carolina financier Darla Moore. Both have broken barriers in their storied careers.
RICE & MOORE
Condoleezza Rice, 57, was the first black woman to be Secretary of State and national security adviser and the first African American, first woman and youngest person to be provost at Stanford University. Ms. Moore, 58, rose to the top ranks in the male-dominated world of high finance as VP of one of America's largests investment firms. She was the only woman on the board of trustees at her alma mater, U. of South Carolina and was the first woman featured on a cover story by Fortune magazine in 1997. Mind you the headline read "The Toughest Babe In Business".
Two other famous names in this story are William "Hootie" Johnson, the former club chairman who stood steadfastly by the men-only policy even in the face of protest led by Martha Burk of the National Council of Women's Organizations. At one point sponsorshp of the Masters was threatened. Hootie's only concession was that one day Augusta might have a woman in a green jacket but "not at the point of a bayonet."
Johnson (a male member) retired in 2006 and it is thought new chairman Bill Payne (pictured) made it his mission to allow female members. It only took 6 years from that point. Why these two women specifically were invited is unclear. IBM is a major Masters sponsor and the last 4 CEO's have received membership. The new CEO is a woman and it was thought Virgina Rometty would be asked. She was not.
Women have previously been allowed to golf as guests. There already IS a women's locker room but only 2 sets of tees. Ms. Rice claims to have shot a 97 there. She was recently appointed to the nominating committee of the U.S. Golf Assoc. and has previously stated she didn't have a big problem with men or women only organizations across the United States. Racial discrimination was another matter.
Darla Moore is also a philanthropist who generally shuns the spotlight, declined interviews and issued a brief statement accepting the invitation.
Much has been made of this "bold" Augusta move and although I approve, it's hard to applaud it. I mean Augusta didn't have a black member until 1990 and now women in 2012. Martha Burk said, "we won", and in a way it is a victory but also, way too late. As the old saying goes, "When a donkey flies you don't blame him for not staying up too long." LEAVE COMMENTS.
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