The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

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Opinion

April 7, 2012

Augusta National’s treatment of women shameful in 2012

---- — As I visited with my three granddaughters the other day, I couldn’t help but think of the wonderful future that lies ahead for them.

The opportunities for women are endless and much different than they were a few generations ago, when I was the twinkle in the eyes of my grandmas. During their day, it was the old male theory that women belonged in the kitchen and the bedroom, while the men went off to work.

Both my grandmas were alive when the 19th Amendment passed that finally gave women the right to vote in 1920.

The expectations for women were different even during my mother’s day. Although she was a registered nurse, she gave up her career to raise our family when I was the first of seven kids that came along.

One day this week, I couldn’t help but think about how things have changed as I watched my wife LaVon rock our little 9-month-old granddaughter Kara to sleep. That’s because I am so proud of my wife, the first female manager of the City of Farrell before her recent retirement.

Besides putting up with me for 31 years – no easy task – she, like so many other women, balanced work and family well.

I have long been surrounded by capable women. All of my sisters are college graduates and professionals. The same for my sisters-in-law.

But even for them, it wasn’t always easy. After all, girls didn’t even have a right to play high school sports or earn college scholarships like guys until after Title IX came into play in 1972.

I’m very proud that The Herald, where I have worked for more than 40 years, has it’s first female publisher – Sharon Sorg. I see great strides ahead.

Sharon Regional Health System this past year named a woman CEO – Linde Wilson. The City of Farrell has its first female mayor, Olive McKeithan, and women are superintendents of several area schools.

There are many more examples right here in Mercer County of women who have succeeded in roles formerly reserved for men.

Yes, women have cracked the proverbial “glass ceiling” that held them down. But while it’s cracked, it certainly isn’t completely broken.

I mention this after the question of women’s equality again was raised at The Masters golf tournament this weekend at Augusta National Country Club in Georgia. It’s a different time zone there – when you step on the course you need to turn your watch back 50 years.

After all, the club still does not accept female members. That group of rich sexists refuses to allow women to join.

It remains their right because private clubs can legally exclude others. I understand that. And after all, many women wouldn’t want to wear that shade of green jacket. But why do they still hold a golf tournament there? And why do businesses continue to sponsor the tournament on TV?

There is a focus again on Augusta and women’s rights mainly because one of tournament’s biggest sponsors, IBM, has a new woman CEO – Virginia Rometty. The last four CEOs of IBM have been invited to be members at Augusta.

So something has to change. Either those pathetic men – I would call them chauvinistic pigs, but that would be an insult to swine – at Augusta need to accept her as a member, or Rometty should pull IBM’s sponsorship. IBM is too big to fail and doesn’t need The Masters.

It’s time for golfer stars like Phil Mickelson, who is such a great family man, to refuse to play The Masters until they allow women to join Augusta. Come on, Phil, you don’t need another green jacket or another million-dollar paycheck.

Things change in this world whether people like those at Augusta like it or not. During the recent Republican Party presidential battles, we heard how some of the GOP candidates felt about denying women’s rights. I’m surprised that Rick Santorum didn’t talk about repealing the 19th Amendment.

But people like Santorum are slowly falling by the wayside. Women control a majority of the wealth in the world. And great strides are being made throughout the world because of it.

And although it’s doubtful they would want to do so, if my granddaughters someday want to join Augusta National Country Club, I’d like to see them at least have that right.

The Herald’s Lynn Saternow writes this weekly column for The Opinion Page.

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