Even though there is no evidence of women being inferior leaders to men, they still face gender discrimination in the workplace (Northouse, 2013), even if they are one of the few female CEO’s of large international corporations. This was recently brought to public attention in 2012, when IBM, one of the traditional sponsors of the Augusta Golf Club chose its first female CEO, Virgina (Ginney) Rometty. The Augusta Golf Club has been called “a peaceful enclave for powerful men”, with the majority of their members being CEO’s or former CEO’s; membership is by invitation only (Bull, 2013) . Previously, IBM’s CEO’s were invited to join the all male golf club, but when Rometty was chosen, Augusta declined to invite her based on her gender (Grgurich, 2012).
There are some people that would say that it’s just golf and the issue isn’t as important as other gender discrimination occurrences, but many don’t realize that golf can be a serious part of business negotiation. According to USA Today (2012), if a golf-playing businessman is asked where he has crafted a deal or two or 10, he’ll undoubtedly say: ‘the golf course’. Being excluded from a place where so many business deals are negotiated is an interpersonal barrier which equates to lack of access to an important informal network and would leave Rometty at a disadvantage when doing her job (Northouse, 2013).
It is now 2014 and Augusta has finally invited Rometty to join as a member (Harig, 2014); it took two years for them to do so. Granted, they invited a more powerful female leader, Condaleeza Rice, the year before (Brennan, 2012), but for Rometty, a CEO of one of their sponsors, they took much longer. It is amazing to me that such gross discrimination was allowed, especially when it became so public. Though this has now been rectified, it stands to reason that other informal networks are still closed to Virginia Rometty, and it is unknown how she will conquer them or how long it might take.
Brennan, C. (2012, August 20). Finally! Augusta National does right thing and admits women. Retrieved from USA Today: http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/sports/golf/masters/story/2012-08-20/Masters-women-Condoleeza-Rice-Darla-Moore-Christine-Brennan/57160258/1
Bull, A. (2013, April 9). Augusta falls in love with Condoleezza Rice, first lady of the Masters. Retrieved from The Guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2013/apr/09/augusta-condoleezza-rice-masters
Grgurich, J. (2012, April 10). IBM CEO Still in the Rough Over How to Handle Augusta Snub. Retrieved from Daily Finance: http://www.dailyfinance.com/2012/04/10/ibm-ceo-Ginni-Rometty-augusta-national-golf-membership-snub/#!slide=981463
Harig, B. (2014, November 13). Virginia Rometty member of Augusta. Retrieved from ESPN: http://espn.go.com/golf/story/_/id/11871158/virginia-rometty-becomes-3rd-female-member-augusta-national
Northouse, P. G. (2013). Leadership: Theory and Practice. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.