She’s the first woman to head IBM. She has a degree in computer science and electrical engineering, not exactly traditional women’s fields. She has the authority to approve millions of dollars in IBM sponsorship fees for events like the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Georgia.
Funny thing, though, this supremely accomplished FOF, Virginia Rometty, is not allowed to become a member of the “august” Augusta National Golf Club because she’s a woman. Well, it’s not really funny. It’s ridiculous, asinine, even embarrassing, considering the role she plays at IBM and the role IBM plays at the Masters. Historically, the chief executives of its lead sponsors are invited to join THE CLUB. But not Virginia. That’s insult heaped upon insult.
Adulterers can be Augusta members, just as long as they’re men. But women leaders? Hell no!! There’s no place for them in this holy bastion of men with little balls. I have no idea if Virginia even golfs, but no matter. She deserved to be invited. The Club conveniently chose to disobey its own rules about inviting heads of sponsoring companies to become members.
I also don’t understand why Virginia dodged the media at the just-ended event and didn’t tell us how she feels about all this. Perhaps she didn’t want to upset the proverbial golf (oops! apple) cart because she was entertaining her company’s biggest clients there. Surely, she’s not a blushing violet to have achieved all she has since graduating Northwestern University a few decades ago.
The world is filled with contradictions and irony. This situation, I’d say, ranks right up there as one of the most ironic. Maybe Augusta National can create a new sponsorship category called: “We want your money. It’s you we don’t want.”
Note to the powers that be at Augusta: If the nation’s leading all-male universities thought it wise to open their doors to women in 1969, surely you can do the same in 2012. We’re talking about a golf course, for heaven’s sake. I can think of ground a lot more sacred.