How Private Should a Private Club Be?
Should a private club be able to chose who it admits as a member?
The news last week that the venerable Augusta National Golf Club would, at long last, allow female members into the 80-year-old all male club made headlines.
The club, which hosts the Masters Tournament each year, has been in the hot seat for some years. A decade ago Martha Burk, former chair of the National Council of Women's Organizations, staged a protest during the 2002 Tournament.
The issue came to light again this spring. The CEO of IBM, one of the Masters major TV sponsors, is traditionally extended a membership invitation to the club. But the private club found itself between a rock and a hard place because a woman, Virginia Rometly, currently leads the Fortune 500 company. The IBM Chief Executive Officer was not extended an invitation.
So it was a surprise when the announcement came last week that former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and South Carolina businesswoman Darla Moore had been extended membership invitations.
Reactions to last week's announcement were generally favorable with the majority responding that it was about time the private club step into the 21st Century and not exclude the fairer sex any longer.
What's your opinion on the issue? Did Augusta National leaders do the right thing by admitting women into its membership? Or do you think the club finally bowed to outside pressure?
(Use the comment box below to respond.)