Feminist Investigates Golf Club Membership and Gender Bias

April 7, 2004 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Gender bias on Wall Street? Feminist Martha Burk thinks prestigious golf club memberships are proof of a bias and now she is taking her fight to the Street.

Burk points out that chief executives and chairmen of some of the top firms on Wall Street are members of the Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia that is notorious for its long-standing ban on female membership. Those memberships, said attorney Cyrus Mehri, send signals through the corporations headed by these men that it is acceptable to discriminate against women, according to a Reuters report.

Burk said her National Council of Women’s Organizations would work with the firm of Mehri & Skalet on the bias inquiry. The inquiry is looking into practices at such firms as:

  • American Express Co
  • Bank of America Corp
  • Berkshire Hathaway Inc
  • Citigroup
  • J.P. Morgan Chase
  • Morgan Stanley
  • Prudential Financial Inc.

Burk sent a letter to executives whom she said are club members asking them to resign their membership at Augusta. Further, Burk’s group has been approached by female employees of companies headed by club members with “stories that are troubling.”

Responding to the allegations of gender bias, Prudential spokesman Bob DeFillippo told Reuters, “We have very strict policies that prohibit discrimination of any kind. We have been widely recognized as a good place for women to work.”