Prejudice ends at last

2012-08-25 16:01

After 80 years of sexism and segregation, administrators at the home of the Masters have regained their senses and put anend to their embarrassing policy.

The decision this week by the Augusta National Golf Club to open its doors to women officials is long overdue.

The appointment of US diplomat Condoleezza Rice (57) and businesswoman Darla Moore (58) to serve as club members is a good move as both are strong women in their own right.

What boggles the mind is the insensitive manner in which this club – home of the Masters, which is arguably the best-organised tournament in the world – has handled the issue of women’s membership since it was established in 1932.

For the past 80 years, the club has been a male-dominated enclave with women strictly prohibited from having any say in the organisation.

It is quite shameful that it is only now, in the 21st century, that Augusta is finally taking the initiative to involve women.

There is not a shadow of a doubt in the minds of enthusiasts that the Augusta authorities are highly-rated leaders in the world of golf, judging from the successful event they organise year in and year out.

But their medieval policy of not allowing women on board was becoming an embarrassment.

As leaders in the sport of golf, the club should have been paving the way by being all-inclusive instead of perpetuating a sexist stance.

But, that it has now opened its doors to women at last does not come as a surprise – it has been a long-awaited move.

And they shouldn’t be shouting about it from the roof tops either, but rather hanging their heads in shame for only getting around to it now.

For many years, women were only afforded the opportunity to play at the Augusta National Golf Club as guests, including on the Sunday before the Masters’ second week in April.

As apartheid did, the Augusta has steadfastly held on to its sexist stance, keeping women out of the running of the noble game.

With Augusta head honchos now having regained their senses after years of gender segregation, one can only hope that the new female officials will add value to the organisation and open doors for even more deserving women.

Questions around the change of policy have been coming thick and fast from the golfing fraternity for years.

With the demise of Augusta’s males-only policy, there is no doubt that both Rice and Moore will add value to the game and steer the course to new heights.

Rice was the national security adviser to president George W Bush and, following General Colin Powell’s resignation as secretary of state, she replaced him. Moore is a pioneering woman in the US banking industry and a philanthropist of note.

And as a partner of the private investment firm Rainwater Inc she is sure to bring much experience to the running of the Augusta.



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