IBM CEO Rejects Martha Burk’s Feminist Agenda


Martha Burk is at it again. The director of the Corporate Accountability Project for the National Council of Women’s Organizations is demanding that Augusta National Golf Club invite ladies to join its membership.

Nine years ago, Burk waged a similar campaign against Augusta National, host of this week’s Masters golf tournament. While it generated a lot of publicity, it ended unsuccessfully.

Burk thought she had a better chance this year inasmuch as IBM, a major Masters sponsor, boasts a female CEO. Since Augusta National had proffered membership to previous IBM CEOs who were male, Burke argued, the golf club should extend the same courtesy to Virginia Rommety, the company’s current CEO.

Never mind that Rommety is reportedly not much of a golfer. Never mind that she has not asked Augusta National to add her to its membership. Burk wants to make Rommety the Rosa Parks of private membership-only golf.

“We’ve said all along, this is not about golf,” Burk wrote, in an article published this week on CNN’s website. “It is about access to places where big business is done, deals are made and careers are boosted or broken.”

Burk is partially right. Her campaign against Augusta National is not about golf. It’s about promoting the radical feminist view that there is no difference between men and women; that the separation of the two genders is tantamount to sexism.

But separation of the genders is not automatically sexist. It does not necessarily relegate women to second-class status. And it is not always the case, as Burke suggests, that such separation is injurious to career women.

Indeed, while separation of individuals strictly according to skin color is unacceptable under almost every circumstance, separation of individuals according to gender makes sense under many circumstances.

Does Burke object to separate public restrooms for men and women? Does she think the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts should be merged into a single unisex organization?

Does she have a problem with private women’s colleges? Would she eliminate gender separation in sports (like basketball, tennis and, yes, golf), forcing women to compete head-to-head with men?

Rommety climbed all the way up the corporate ladder to CEO of a Fortune 500 corporation.  And she managed to do so without membership at Augusta National; without the unwanted help of feminist activists like Burke.

“Ginni got it because she deserved it,” said Sam Palmisano, her predecessor at IBM. “It’s got zero to do with progressive social policies.”

This entry was published on April 5, 2012 at 8:26 AM. It’s filed under GENDER and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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