Let’s build a smarter planet is IBM‘s mission statement, but does that include a planet where women are considered equal to men?
It may seem that IBM do believe in promoting women to senior positions – earlier this year Ginni Rometty rose up to become the President and CEO of the company, but events at this years Masters golf tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club must be upsetting the tens of thousands of female employees at Big Blue.
Augusta traditionally awards an honorary membership of the club to the leaders of the main corporate sponsors of the Masters competition. IBM has been a sponsor for the past decade and so Rometty might have expected to be receiving her membership this Easter weekend.
Except Augusta doesn’t allow women to be members.
Golf clubs are well known for their archaic rules and self-righteous exclusion of minorities, but if a woman can lead one of the largest corporations in the US, serve as Secretary of State, and serve as Commander of the Space Shuttle then why can a woman not be a member of the Augusta National Golf Club? Rometty is running IBM because she was the best person for the job at the time it became available, not because of her gender.
The blame here lies more with IBM that with the lunatics at the golf club. Augusta only agreed to allow non-white members from 1990. It’s a good thing President Obama wasn’t in power back in the eighties.
IBM is a company that does so much for the world. They invest billions of dollars into research programmes each year. They run grant programmes and support the local communities where the company operates. Yet when it comes to their marketing, here they are supporting an institution that does not value half of humanity.
IBM is under pressure to make a statement on the situation, but as of this morning (April 9) there is still no announcement on their website. It’s time for IBM to bid their support of the Masters tournament farewell. If the other major sponsors Exxon Mobil and AT&T follow suit then it could be an albatross on behalf of women the world over.
Photo by Bob Cotter licensed under Creative Commons