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The Augusta National Golf Club and Women

by Elaine Schwartz    •    Apr 7, 2012

Has the value of a woman changed at Augusta National Golf Club?

Samuel Palmisano, Louis Gerstner and John Akers are former IBM CEOs with Augusta National Golf Club green blazers. Until now,  the CEOs of all major corporate sponsors of the Masters at Augusta were given club membership and the member’s green jacket.

Until now?

While the CEOs of the other 2 major sponsors, AT & T and Exxon Mobil, are expected to be wearing their green blazers, the new head of IBM will not. The reason? Virginia Rometty is the new CEO of IBM. Since it was founded close to 80 years ago, the club has refused to accept women.

Augusta’s policy started me thinking about the changing “value” of women. In The Price of Everything, Eduardo Porter says that as women increasingly entered the labor force, American society profoundly changed. One cause of the change was the new price of women’s labor. Once women worked outside the home, they became more “valuable.”

Our bottom line: Everywhere, as female labor force participation rates increased, labor markets, marriage “markets,” maybe even exclusive club memberships have been transformed by the changing “value” of women.

My sources: This Bloomberg article, the IBM website for CEO info, The Price of Everything by Eduardo Porter and The Essence of Becker.

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