For almost 80 years, the famous Augusta National Golf Club has had a strict men-only membership requirement – despite criticism and attacks from groups like the National Council of Women’s Organizations.
But all that changed this week, when former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and financier Darla Moore (known as “the toughest babe in business”) were invited to become members.
“This is a joyous occasion,” Billy Payne, the chairman of the Augusta National wrote in a statement for the Augusta Chronicle. “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.”
This decision is being hailed as a great victory in the struggle for gender equality. Martha Burk, of the National Council of Women’s Organizations, had been lobbying for the club to change its membership restrictions for years.
“Oh my God. We won," Burk said. "It's about 10 years too late for the boys to come into the 20th century, never mind the 21st century. But it's a milestone for women in business."
Yet many are starting to wonder if it highlights a certain hypocrisy amongst those who’ve lobbied in the past for the Augusta National to accept female membership.
After all, while the Augusta National has a highly visible target in the battle against gender discrimination, certain other businesses (like fitness club Curves) continue to offer female-only memberships largely without complaint, except in California.
So – in this age of gender equality, why is it still only considered “discrimination” when men do it?