It’s only a girl
But this time it’s different–it’s only a girl. And girls don’t count. They may be OK to put out front to show the world IBM is a progressive company, but they don’t really have any authority, and they don’t really deserve the same respect as former CEOs.
Why didn’t Rometty object? Maybe she decided years ago not to make waves. Maybe she just doesn’t understand the symbolism of the tacky green jacket–which is not about golf, but about power. More likely she did object–and was bellowed down by the bullies on her board of directors (the chair of which, Samuel Palmisano, is an Augusta member). You know the line: “Wait a little longer, little lady.”
Hooray for the women’s movement for passing the laws that opened executive suites by making employment discrimination illegal, allowing Rometty and a very few sisters to get to the top. That’s a clear victory. Because of our work, she may even be able to file a sex discrimination lawsuit against IBM for providing perks for the men that she doesn’t get.
But we still have far to go–to the bastions of power such as golf clubs that are beyond the law and to the corporations that are seemingly beyond shame.
There’s a message here for us: Stay mad. Stay strong. And stay on their asses.
If we do that, failure is impossible.
This post was originally published by Ms. Magazine.
Matha Burk’s latest book is Your Voice, Your Vote: The Savvy Women’s Guide to Power, Politics and the Change We Need. In 2002, she sued Augusta for discrimination.
Photo of IBM Chief Virginia Rometty by Fortune Live Media via flickr
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