PGA Tour Urged to “Dissociate” from Masters over Augusta’s Membership Policy
Martha Burk, Chair of the National Council of Women’s Organizations (NCWO), yesterday urged commissioner Tim Finchem to “dissociate” the PGA Tour from the Masters because of Augusta National’s continued refusal to admit women into its membership. Augusta National is the site of the Masters golf tournament, an event sanctioned by the PGA Tour, though the PGA does not own or run the Masters.
Earlier this year, Finchem backed away from pressuring Augusta National, claiming that not being a co-sponsor to the Masters, the Tour could not force the club to adopt “host club policy.” However, Burk insists that by sanctioning an event that is held at a club that practices such blatant discrimination, the PGA is violating its own anti-discrimination policies. Burk is calling for the PGA Tour to withdraw its support for the Masters by tomorrow—when the PGA Tour Championship commences.
The NCWO previously sent a letters to prominent members of the prestigious club asking them to urge Augusta National to alter its membership policy. To date, three members, including Kenneth I. Chenault, chairman and chief executive of American Express, Citigroup chair Sanford Weill and Lloyd Ward, head of the U.S. Olympic Committee and former president of Ford Motor Company, have openly expressed their support for including women.
In related news, USA Today reported that some businesswomen in Augusta, Georgia are ready to blame the NCWO for significant revenue losses, should the 2003 Masters Tournament be canceled. However, Burk responded, “I regret Hootie Johnson and the members of the Augusta National are willing to hurt small businesses and women-owned businesses in their determination to discriminate.”
The Feminist Majority is a member of NCWO, along with 160 other groups—making total membership close to seven million.
Media Resources: NY Times 10/29/02; USA Today 10/30/02; Feminist Daily News Wire
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .