There Are Cracks in the Glass Ceiling, Not the Golf Course

An icon of American business has its first female CEO who just happens not to have children. Don't expect a public confrontation about sexist policies to be her first priority.

So much going on in the world, you may not have noticed that the mighty I.B.M., a singular icon of big men taking care of big business, is now run by a lovely lady named Virginia.  

Virginia Rometty officially accepted the top job at I.B.M. in January. Did she know that one of her first challenges would be the Masters golf tournament?

No, she's no golf champ, but she's the new public face of the tournament's premier sponsor, and even non-golfers know that the Masters is held in Augusta, Georgia on a course that has never, ever admitted women members. The Masters is independent from the rules of the PGA, but they pretend to respect them: Women can play the Augusta course, but they’re denied that ooky-looking Members Only green jacket that CBS News called ”a status symbol in business and golf.”  

The Masters admitted its first black member in 1990. Women, not so much. 

Rometty v. Masters wouldn’t be SUCH a big deal if only the Masters didn’t have a tradition of offering a membership to every I.B.M. C.E.O. Oopsies.

It appears that I.B.M. won't pull its sponsorship this year, neither because of Ms. Rometty per se, nor because it’s the right danged thing to do.  Neither will the Masters take this easy PR opportunity to change its archaic, close-minded rules.

If you’ve guessed that Virginia Rometty is a NotMom, you’re right. She’s the 29th woman to serve as CEO of a Fortune 500 company. The NY Times reports that 18 of them have children, tracking significantly below the 87% of married U.S. women who have children. No surprise there. And I suppose, no surprises in Augusta, either.

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Scott Rollins April 08, 2012 at 03:01 AM
Thank god we are closer to some perception of equality, i cant wait to go get a membership at curves now.
Damon koch April 08, 2012 at 05:54 AM
Also, Correct me if I'm wrong (which I am surely not) but didn't Hillary Clinton attend Wellsley college, an all girls school. Maybe I should try to get my grandson enrolled there.
Alexandra April 08, 2012 at 12:35 PM
My cousin is a PGA player. I do not think EVERYONE has to be forced to change traditions. That said congrats to IBM's newest CEO, she must be extremely smart, kids or not. Scott, I don't even want join curves, I am fine with the Y. Institutions have the right to be single sex if they want to....there are plenty of places we can all go....
Damon koch April 08, 2012 at 12:51 PM
Alexandra has a very common sense approach and I applaud her for it. There are many acomplished women, like Meg Whitman who ran eBay during their meteroic rise and now is CEO of HP. Their success is not diminished by Augusta or any other private club being male only, nor would their accomplishments be enhanced if they were admitted to these organizations. Read my blog at: http://smallcraftadvisorychronicles.blogspot.com/
Sonia Gwynes April 08, 2012 at 01:21 PM
Ah, all girl schools. Where the ladies can really shine. As Lady of the Elms so rightly puts it, "We learn like girls, Try to keep up".


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