Larry Elder

William Lloyd Garrison, a white slavery abolitionist, and the editor of the only abolitionist paper to survive 34 years of continuous publication, predicted that "the destiny of the slaves is in the hands of the American women, and complete emancipation can never take place without their cooperation."

Did the women's suffragette movement bar men from supporting it? The Declaration of Sentiments, the foundation document of the women's rights movement, was signed shortly after the first Women's Rights Convention on July 19 and 20, 1848. Despite the request that only women attend that first day, at least 40 men showed up. Organizers allowed men to vote because, as Elizabeth Cady Stanton's History of Woman Suffrage suggests, this provided an opportunity for men to make themselves useful. And one man, indeed, proved very useful. All the resolutions were approved until the controversial ninth, calling for women to secure the right to vote. Many attendees -- both male and female -- denounced it as an outrageous demand that would cheapen the entire cause. Then abolitionist Frederick Douglass spoke, making clear that freedom was not divisible according to sex or color. The resolution passed. One hundred finally signed the Declaration, including 32 men.

Don't misunderstand. Burk's "civil rights" quest does not measure up.

As a private club, our Constitution allows Augusta to establish its own admissions policies. Somehow, some way, women succeed, despite the "handicap" of Augusta's non-female admissions policies. According to Catalyst, a research firm, the numbers of women in corporate America showed impressive gains from the year 2000 to 2002, a period of economic sluggishness. During that period, the percentage of women occupying corporate officer positions rose from 12.5 percent to 15.7 percent, or a 25 percent increase. And, in the last seven years, from 1995 to 2002, the number of women in corporate officer positions has nearly doubled. In real numbers, women now hold 2,140 of the 13,673 top-ranking executive positions at Fortune 500 companies.

Regarding "clout titles," including CEO, chairman, vice chairman, president, chief operating officer, senior executive vice president, and executive vice president, in the last seven years, from 1995 to 2002, the percentage of women occupying these positions increased a dizzying 400 percent, from 1.9 to 7.9 percent.

Assuming the "validity" of Burk's cause, her wish to exclude male support seems bizarre. Thus, a male-barred female-only protest condemns the policies of a female-barred male-only private club.

Whatever.


Larry Elder

Larry Elder is a best-selling author and radio talk-show host. To find out more about Larry Elder, or become an "Elderado," visit www.LarryElder.com.