In a shockingly progressive move, Augusta National extended a membership invitation to an African American person in 1990, which was quite a big deal at the time. Since, race relations within the club have not been a hot-ticket issue to my knowledge. Augusta National does not afford membership opportunities to women, a policy for which they have taken a lot of heat from feminist activists over the years.
IBM typically sponsors the Masters, and the past four CEOs of the company were allotted membership. However, this is the first year that Virginia Rometty has held the position of CEO of IBM. This puts Augusta National once again in the limelight, as Ms. Rometty also happens to be the bearer of a vagina.
At first glance, this appeared to be some of the dumbest crap I have ever heard. Why does anyone care what these anachronistic fools are doing enough to spend any time trying to unravel their motives? Further contemplation shows this enigma is just one example of the still existing gender inequality. Ms. Rometty successfully worked hard and smart, eventually earning the position of CEO, but millions of women continue to get kicked in the proverbial ovaries every time they look toward that glass ceiling. Gender disparity is not an idea or an assumption; it is a tangible fact.
Gender inequality gets instilled in us at an early age. I remember plenty of examples from my childhood, but that was a while ago and times are changing, aren’t they? I’m dubious. In a blatantly unscrupulous attempt to win the debate over whether fire trucks or ambulances are cooler, I brought an entire home daycare out to the ambulance to see the rig, and most importantly, honk the air horn. (I’m shameless, I know.) My partner pointed out to the kids that I am in charge, and a five year old girl said, “but you’re a girl!” She and I had a little girl power talk after that. I told her that lots of people will tell her she can’t do things because she’s a girl. There will be lots of things she will be unable to do as she grows up, but never because she’s a girl. Apparently, I misspoke because I did not take into account the Augusta National Golf Club. She got to honk the air horn, so I don’t think she was thinking about any golf clubs, either.
I recently had a large patient with an altered mental status that we had no choice but to restrain. He started to come to on the way to the hospital, and apologized for his previous behavior although he had no recollection of it. He told me that if I were going to insist on doing this kind of job, I needed “to gain some weight so that [I] could handle some of them big boys.” This guy was every bit of 300 lbs. I told him, “Sugar, I didn’t have a problem getting you under control.” I’ve restrained plenty of people, and I have never had a problem due to my chromosomal arrangement.
The issue here isn’t that women aren’t equipped or deserving, it is the perception that we aren’t. This is a precarious issue to handle. I’m not sure I would want to be in Ms. Rometty’s shoes. On one hand, if Augusta National excludes her, she’s the kid not picked to be on the kickball team in gym class. She will be criticized as a woman who did not fight for gender equality, despite her position as the first female CEO of this powerful company. Besides, who wants to have to bully their way into a club?
On the other hand, if Augusta National extends an invitation to Ms. Rometty, would she even want to accept it? Would she want to pay dues to an antiquated boys club to hang out with a bunch of dinosaurs playing golf? Would she want to be the one who hears conversations peter out as she walks into a room, knowing the topic was based solely on the presence of her uterus? What the hell would that god-awful green jacket go with? I would start by bedazzling the shit out of that blazer; I’d make it read “VAGINA” across the back in rhinestones. This is probably an example of why Ms. Rometty is a CEO and I’m not.
In a just world, Augusta National would invite Ms. Rometty to their exclusive club, and she would reply, “On behalf of IBM as CEO, I thank you for such a prestigious invitation. I understand and respect that you overlooked long standing rules and traditions to include me. On behalf of myself as a woman, I decline your invitation. I am uninterested in being a part of a club that has spent more time and energy focusing on my gender than my accomplishments. I would also like to point out that the green jacket is hideous.” However, this is not a just world.
Would having a female included in an old-fashioned boys’ club change the world? I doubt it. What does change things is having all the Ms. Romettys of the world take the higher ground. Ms. Rometty has not even commented on the situation to the best of my knowledge. Refusing to play dirty is a classy move, I think. Do women in EMS have that restraint? I like to think so, but who knows? It’s hard not to take personal offense when you’re considered second rate for things out of your control sometimes. Sometimes you just want to look a chauvinist in the eye and call him a douche canoe.