In a statement issued Friday, Citigroup chair Sanford Weill became the first high-powered executive among about 20 such Augusta National Golf Club members contacted by the National Council of Women’s Organizations (NCWO) to urge that the club alter its policy to include female members. Still, the letter stipulated that Weill’s discussions with the club remain private. NCWO chair Marta Burk expressed hope for timely progress, cautioning, “It’s pretty easy to say ÔWe’re working on it,’ but that can go on for months and even years,” according to the Associated Press.
In July, William “Hootie” Johnson, chair of Augusta National, lashed out at Burk after she wrote him a letter urging that the club, which hosts the prestigious Masters golf tournament, open its membership to women. “Our membership alone decides our membership – not any outside group with its own agenda,” Johnson said in the three-page statement. “The message delivered to us was clearly coercive We will not be bullied, threatened or intimidated. We do not intend to become a trophy in their display case.” Johnson said in April that Augusta does not have exclusionary membership policies; however, it did not have a black member until 1990 and has had no female members in its 70-year history, the Washington Post reported.
The Feminist Majority is a member of NCWO, along with 160 other groups making the total membership close to seven million.