I had a dream last night that IBM CEO Virginia Rometty told the Grand Poobah of the Masters Tournament to take his green blazer and shove it.
You see the golf tournament, considered the most prestigious in the country, is held at the Augusta National Golf Club and guess what, that club doesn’t accept female members.This is a tough situation for the Club and for Rometty because traditionally IBM’s top dog has been accepted into the club and ends up wearing the organization’s famous green blazer.
All four of the last IBM CEOs were offered membership, according to a Wall Street Journal article today. But the newly minted chief executive Rometty won’t be able to don it because breasts are not allowed.
Rometty isn’t commenting on the matter, and word is she’ll be attending since IBM is one of the event’s key sponsors, but here’s where the few women in power can make a difference. Instead of attending and faking a smile, she should pull the company’s long-time sponsorship and tell Masters “you’re not the master of me anymore.”
It’s particularly significant that this situation involves golf. The game is considered the height of Good-Old-Boy networking, so by keeping women out of the biggest golfing event men are assured world domination. And if you’re wondering, Rometty actually does play golf.
The fact that the Masters isn’t hiding or running from its policy says something about how women are still perceived in this country. Can you image if this club didn’t allow Blacks or Jews to join?
Why is it OK to ban women? Because women are still treated like second-class citizens. Clearly, no one thought it was a bad idea to join this all-guy club for years, given the IBM execs who proudly wore the jacket.
This is what Masters Chairman Billy Payne thinks of you whining women who want the policy changed:
“As has been the case, whenever that question is asked, all issues of membership are now and have been historically subject to the private deliberations of the members and that statement remains accurate and remains my statement,” he said, according to a story in the Daily News.
But things don’t change if we don’t stand up. If Rometty just attends without taking a stand, it will be a defeat for women, and men, everywhere. You can’t win a war without a battle, and the war to get women in positions of power that never started is our downfall.
Little has changed for women and power since the 1980s. Women held only about 16 percent of board seats and 14 percent of executive officer positions at Fortune 500 companies last year, according to a study by Catalyst, a research firm.
Yes, discrimination is a big part of this, but women are also to blame. We keep waiting for men to hand over control but we’ll be waiting a long time my friends. If women held the majority of the corporate corner office seats, do you think we’d hand over the reins without at least a scuffle?
Rometty do us all a favor, boycott the Masters! But if you don’t, at least wear a blood red blazer with the words “I’m the Master” emblazoned on the back.