April 9, 2012 — The Masters Tournament is over, but Augusta National Golf Club’s male-only membership policy remains.
As an institution, Augusta is well within its rights to discriminate against women. But as a club, Augusta is more than an institution—it’s a membership organization, and its policies reflect the views and values of the people who are its members.
So let’s move past the “institution” and ask the members of Augusta to take an honest look in the mirror and ask themselves whether discrimination against women truly reflects their values.
On March 29, at the annual Catalyst Awards Dinner, I asked all 2,000 guests to take personal accountability to be catalysts. A catalyst acts on the simple idea that women and men should have the same societal, economic, political, and life opportunities. Progress toward equality doesn’t happen all by itself. It happens because individuals take action to change the rules, norms, and practices that might be comfortable for some but harmful to others.
My call to action today is to the members of Augusta: Make change now, not just for IBM CEO Virginia Rometty, whose company is a lead sponsor of the Masters Tournament, but for all women who would qualify for Augusta membership but for their gender. And do it today.
This is not a nice “to-do” to put off until next year. Every day you delay is another day you’ll have to face the mirror—and see the reflection of inequality staring back at you.