August 21st, 2012
11:23 AM ET

Celebration, surprise, humor after Augusta National admits first women

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By Greg Botelho, CNN

(CNN) - The offices of SPARK, a nationwide coalition of girls-only programs, were abuzz Monday as news spread about Augusta National's decision to allow female members for the first time in its 80-year history.

"Shock" was a common sentiment, the organization's executive director said, not because the famed Augusta, Georgia, club finally decided to open its doors to another gender, but because they hadn't done so until now.

"The girls honestly were pretty surprised that Augusta had been discriminating against women like this," said Dana Edell, referring to the teenagers that comprise much of SPARK's staff. "They are horrified that (the club) could legally and blatantly (exclude women)."

Augusta National Golf Club admits first female members

Most of these girls were in elementary school when women's rights activist Martha Burk first ratcheted up public pressure on what was then probably America's best known men's-only club. Yet the majority of those women's rights activists responding to Monday's news were well aware of Augusta National's history and that of the decade-long fight to force it to reverse its policy, not to mention the even longer campaign for gender equality.

For them, hearing former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and South Carolina businesswoman Darla Moore can now hang out in Augusta's clubhouse with corporate and other leaders from around the Southeast and nation was cause for celebration.

Burk admitted that her first reaction, upon hearing of Augusta National chairman Billy Payne's statement, was "we won - and we did."

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Filed under: Girls • History • How we look • Sports • Women
soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. Jorge

    Yeah, right. The first female governor of Puerto Rico left behind her a wealth of scamming and fund skimming up to par with her predecessors. The previoussuperintendent for the State Department of Education of Georgia turned out to be corrupt as could be, smiling smugly for the cameras upon her indictment. Winnie Mandela turned out to be a treacherous mob boss when bestowed with power, which is why Nelson left her. I remember these things clearly and more. The way you try to portray female human nature is mendacious, the human species is often lacking in character to deserve the stewardship of power and leading, both man and woman equally.

    August 22, 2012 at 7:43 am | Report abuse |
  2. Chappy

    92 years sees the triumph and skill of women in offices of all kinds.

    I think women should take over the world. They do it peacefully, they do it well, they do it with ambition and yet many till do it with kindness. Men make nothing but selfish destruction.

    We have two contenders to run America and neither represent the majority of Americans only special interest groups.
    Nothing wrong with having special interest groups but they polarize intend of support the future of the nation.

    Not another power hungry corporate head, a nation is not a corporation, nor the clintonesque schemers, but maybe some bodies grandmother? Part kind, part Madea?

    Oh, and congrats Ladies on the golf!

    August 21, 2012 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |