So much going on in the world, you may not have noticed that the mighty I.B.M., a singular icon of big men taking care of big business, is now run by a lovely lady named Virginia.
Virginia Rometty (above) officially accepted the top job in January, and the reason I know this is, in part, because Tiger Woods may be headed for the Masters golf tournament again.
I’ve played golf only a handful of times, but I know that the Masters is held in Augusta, Georgia on a course that has never, ever admitted women members. The Masters is independent from the rules of the PGA, but they pretend to respect them: Women can play the Augusta course, but they’re denied that ooky-looking Members Only green jacket that CBS News called ”a status symbol in business and golf.”
The Masters admitted its first black member in 1990. Women, not so much.
Rometty v. Masters wouldn’t be SUCH a big deal if only I.B.M. wasn’t a longtime sponsor of the Masters tournament, set for mere weeks from now. And, if only the Masters didn’t have a tradition of offering a membership to every I.B.M. C.E.O.!
Will I.B.M. pull its sponsorship (not because of Ms. Rometty per se, but because it’s the right danged thing to do?) OR, will the Masters use this easy PR opportunity and change its archaic, close-minded rules?
If you’ve guessed that Ginni Rometty is a NotMom, you’re right. I’d have cheered her on in an imaginary fist bump anyway, but now, well, you know. She’s the 29th woman to serve as CEO of a Fortune 500 company. The NY Times reports that 18 of them have children, tracking significantly below the 87% of married U.S. women who have children. No surprise there.
She may not have children, but Ms. Rometty does have a husband of 32 years. Like many corporate wives, he has his own less-demanding career. As the world moves forward, we’re going to need more men like him who are secure in their status and masculinity.
When asked what men can do to help advance women as leaders, a Harvard Business School professor answered, “The laundry.”
(Photo Credit: NY Times/Graham Carlow)