For IBM CEO, is golf's sexism on par with the tech world's?

How's this for a handicap? The last four IBM chieftains were offered membership to Augusta National, home of the U.S. Masters. Not so for Big Blue's Virginia Rometty.

Screenshot: Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

While you might be enjoying eating various confections of bunny this weekend, IBM's CEO, Virginia Rometty, has to wear casual business attire and mix with men for whom she is an unwelcome species.

For Rometty's company, you see, sponsors the U.S. Masters. The U.S. Masters tournament is played at the charming Augusta National Golf Club. And the Augusta National Golf Club hasn't -- as far as we know-- invited Rometty to join.

It's not that Augusta has anything against IBM's fine CEOs. The last four have all been offered club membership. It's just that Rometty is, well, a girl. And girls would somehow skew the pitch of the green-jacketed men for whom a side parting is a source of pride and a golf skirt is a source of odd shivering.

The Augusta National Chairman, Billy Payne, refused to answer any questions during this week's Masters press conference on the subject of Augusta's lack of female membership. Indeed, his sense of privacy should be a fine template for Facebook to admire.

He did, though, seem to see little irony in declaring that golf was going through difficult times and needed to attract a broader audience to the game. Well, perhaps he kept his irony private.

Still, while it seems barely enjoyable to wonder just what goes through minds that appear more closed than a spammer's heart, surely Augusta's attitude isn't entirely removed from, say, that of the tech world.

It's not as if the hoodied masses have opened their arms to women leading the way toward tech's future . The women in tech want more women in tech. Indeed, they sat together to discuss this very desire at CES .

Yet, in general, the tech club membership offered to women often has its own clubhouse called the PR department.

Mightn't someone find it slightly remarkably that IBM -- of all sweetly traditional companies -- has a female CEO and that, say, Apple does not? It's not as if the majority of IBM's products are feminine in style. Apple's products, on the other hand, bathe in their very fashion consciousness, their grace, and the sleek effortlessness of Sophia Loren.

Can you ever remember a woman presenting an Apple product on stage? No, Feist's little ditties don't count. I mean a real live woman staring down the fanboys (notice the gender) and offering them one more thing? And we know how much those boys enjoy one more thing.

Just as at Augusta, it isn't merely that the tech world's culture is male. It's that the men are concerned what will become of them once women are around and, perish the galaxy, making decisions.

They might not be able to make the same jokes. Out loud, at least. They might not be able to loudly discuss their latest find in online little-people porn.

Somehow, one can't help thinking that those who exclude women to this degree might have had a little trouble, um, relating to the female gender in their lives.

One can hope that Rometty -- who, if you look at the video I have embedded, puts the FORE! into formidable -- has a very nice time at the Masters. One can also hope that she manages to break another little barrier along the way.

Even President Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney are oddly united in being on her side.

How amusing it would be if Rometty was offered club membership and then turned it down, unless 40 more women were offered membership too.

 

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