The Skinny blog is written by Rick Smith, editor and co-founder of WRAL Tech Wire and business editor of WRAL.com.
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – Female readers speak out on the all-men’s club policy at Augusta National that bars IBM Chief Executive Officer Virginia Rometty from becoming a member and wearing a green jacket at The Masters.
“IBM SHOULD be consistent in their policy about not discriminating even if that means ending a relationship this longstanding. It’s simply the right thing to do.”I am a woman who has more intelligent things to care about. All of those people are such losers.”
So wrote a “proud” IBMer. Her company is one of The Masters’ biggest sponsors.
As the debate heats up about whether IBM should demand its female CEO Virginia Rometty be admitted as a member to the all-male Augusta National as did Chairman/former CEO Sam Palmisano and the three men who preceded him, more readers weigh in on the debate.
“All of those people are such losers,” a Charlotte investment banker added.
Last week,The Skinny said Augusta National’s policy should change.. Readers were asked to respond. Several male readers did – strongly. On Wednesday, Augusta National refused to talk about whether Rometty would be admitted. (read here)
Contacted again by WRAL Tech Wire again Thursday before The Masters opened, a Big Blue spokesperson simply said: “We’re not commenting.”
“Smack in the Glass Ceiling”
But a female writer to The Skinny, saying she is an IBM employee, says Big Blue should demand Rommetty’s admittance.
“As an IBMer I am proud that we have one of the most inclusive anti-discrimination policies in the world – going so far as to mention genetic makeup!” she wrote.
“We ask our suppliers to be socially and environmentally responsible, we continually tout ourselves as having great opportunities for women. And now this. Another not so subtle reminder that you can promote a woman all the way up to CEO of a huge global company, but the fine men at Augusta will lock her out of potential opportunities to socialize and network with other hotshot executives. What a smack in the glass ceiling.
“This is exactly why IBM should announce this is the last year of their Masters sponsorship. We would not tolerate this behavior if you substituted blacks for women, nor would we tolerate this from our suppliers – (of which the Masters really is one, as they are providing a marketing ‘service’) even if they were ‘private’ too. Supporting this kind of discrimination is diametrically opposed to our value system internally.
“We can’t force them to change, nor should we – let them revel in their stubborn and ancient belief system – in all their private glory and watch as sponsors don’t want to be associated with a time in our history where women should be seen and not heard (or maybe even not seen inside the club!).
“Go ahead – perpetuate that “old boy’s club” but don’t be surprised when fewer large companies support your decisions to exclude half of the population.
“IBM SHOULD be consistent in their policy about not discriminating even if that means ending a relationship this longstanding. It’s simply the right thing to do.”
An investment banker in Charlotte put a different spin on the dispute:
“I think your article on Augusta is brilliant.
“I so don’t care about this anymore. I am a woman who has more intelligent things to care about.
“All of those people are such losers.
“But I loved your article this morning.
“Thank you for making me laugh.”
(By the way, readers, you are welcome to send me your views anytime – firstname.lastname@example.org.)