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Augusta National Golf Club- Home of the Masters Tournament

I love putt-putt- you know, mini-golf, but I’m not a golf player. I’ve actually never played real golf, though I’m considering taking it up as a sport just so I can have the following conversation.

Will the Augusta National Golf Club, where the Masters Tournament, is held let a woman be a member?

It’s no secret that sports in this country are dominated by men. Women play sports and certainly they play golf, but women’s sports are far less watched and followed than men’s. For years sports have mirrored our government and corporations, but now government is changing and so are corporations. Women are slowly being let into the game. And not for a lack of over educating ourselves and pushing our way through, I might add.

But what about long-standing traditions that uphold traditional hetero-normative families as the model for American society? The Masters Tournament begins with the first round tomorrow. The tradition of the Augusta National Golf Club has been to give the CEO of IBM a membership to the club and IBM is one of three corporate sponsors. This has been going on for years, but members to the Masters can only be men. Beginning this January 2012, for the first time in history, the CEO of IBM is a woman. See the dilemma?

Virginia Rometty, CEO for IBM

The fact that women have not been allowed to be members of a club with such prestige and that holds such a large tournament as the Masters has been brought up before, but not with this dilemma to contend with.

American business executive, Virginia M. “Ginni” Rometty was Senior Vice President and Group Executive for Sales, Marketing, and Strategy at IBM before she became president and CEO. Fortune magazine has named her one of the “50 Most Powerful Women in Business” for seven consecutive years. In 2011, she was #7 on their list.

According to Mr. Palmisano, who was the CEO whose place Virginia Rometty took when he stepped down, gender did not figure into Ms. Rometty’s selection. He said, she “got it because she deserved it.“ Adding “it’s got zero to do with progressive social policies.”

The Augusta National Golf Club is a men’s club. As a private club, it can have whoever it wants as its members. It has let only men join in the past. The men bring their wives, but that has been the ‘in’ for women. You might be the best golfer in the world or just really like golf and you cannot play or be a member of the club if you are a woman. But, you also have to be invited and it is the place to be for career boosts and power changing conversations within corporate America.

We’ve seen sitcoms, TV dramas, and movies where characters have business meetings on golf courses or try to “run into” important clients on the golf course. On the screen, it’s funny. But actually, it’s real. Huddled around a sport, particularly golf, is where American men have made many big game changing decisions, so to speak. What happens if you can’t get into the club because of your gender?

Because of the Patriarchal system set up in our society, women do not have equal standing as men. Women are then seen as second class citizens. This is dangerous because when women are seen as ‘less-than,’ more violence is perpetrated against them. Women are beaten, raped, and killed regularly. This is a consequence of inequality.

Sure, it’s not all because of Augusta National Golf Club or the Masters, but they are just one more example where women are kept from participating and therefore seen as less than human. So yes, even the golf world continues to promote violence against us when they don’t let us have a place at the table.

People commenting in other articles have said that men need their own clubs and space. Okay, that’s fine, but not when it hosts one of the largest golf tournaments in the country and big business and politics begin to be talked about there.

So, Augusta National- The Masters begins tomorrow- Either way some people are going to be mad, but this world is changing and women must be able to participate for there to be true equality.

What will it be?

Article above written early morning 4/4/12. NOW THIS JUST IN: Written 4/4/12 at 9:41 EST- No, Rometty will not be allowed membership to the Augusta National Golf Club. So much for equality.

Okay, I’m going to update again. Still 4/4/12 11:50 EST- Forbes says it’s a No for Rometty, but ESPN Golf says maybe, that there won’t be a lot of fanfare but we shouldn’t read into the statements of Augusta National Chairman Billy Payne. So maybe the deliberation is still out.