What Decade Is This? Major Golf Tournament Held at "No Girls Allowed" Club

I don't much follow golf (by which I mean I do not follow it at all), but this is one golf story that caught my attention. In fact, it should get the attention of everyone who cares about women's rights:

Since opening in 1933, Augusta National Golf Club has not allowed women to join, although women can play as guests of members. But conversation swirled around the men-only membership policy at the prestigious Georgia club as it prepared to open the Masters Tournament on Thursday.

IBM sponsors the tournament, and the club has always extended membership to the company's officers. But IBM's new CEO is a woman, Virginia Rometty. Critics have called on Augusta National to offer her its traditional green jacket.

Yes, it is the year 2012, and there remain in existence sports clubs that women are not allowed to join because of their gender. What the what? (Again, I don't follow sports, so this may not be news to you.)

At CNN, Emanuella Grinberg digs into why this issue is about so much more than golf:

When it comes to the famed club -- and the dwindling number of exclusive men-only social clubs around the country -- it's not about enjoying the company of a single gender, critics say, and it's definitely not about golf.

"It really is ultimately about power, and Augusta National is a big symbol of the last bastion of male hegemony over economic issues, the place where big business deals are done among the biggest, most influential corporations in this country," said Gloria Feldt, author of "No Excuses: 9 Ways Women Can Change How We Think About Power."

Men and women, boys and girls can still benefit from time apart, some critics say, but not when the separation deprives another group of influence.

"Prestigious," "exclusive," "men-only." Yes, it is clear what's going on at Augusta -- and it isn't about bros wanting to play golf with other bros. It isn't harmless. It's institutional misogyny, and both the club members and the sponsors of this event should be ashamed.

AlterNet / By Lauren Kelley

Posted at April 5, 2012, 5:40am

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