Martha Burk's Holy War on Corporate America
by Carey Roberts
23 April 2004
Just when you thought it was safe to go back onto the golf course...
Considering all the
discredit she has brought to her cause, Martha Burk would seem to be an unlikely
person to head up the powerful National Council of Women’s Organizations.
Her problems started back in 1997, when Burk wrote "The Sperm Stops Here"
in Ms. Magazine. In that article, Ms. Burk advocated nothing less than mandatory
birth control for men. These are Burk’s own words:
contraception beginning at puberty, with the rule relaxed only for procreation
under the right circumstances (he can afford it and has a willing partner)
and for the right reasons (determined by a panel of experts, and with the
permission of his designated female partner).
When Burk appeared
on CNN's Crossfire, she got hammered. Co-hosts Tucker Carlson and Debbie
Schlussel ridiculed Burk's proposal as "weird," "wacko-bizarro," and "pretty
authoritarian even by the standards of feminism."
Then there was the embarrassment of last April.
The Augusta National Golf Club is a private organization that believes it
has the right to set its own membership rules, just like the Ladies Professional
Golf Association and the Women’s Tennis Association. But Martha Burk didn’t
see it that way. She wanted them to admit female members.
Ironically, it was women who mounted the most spirited opposition to Burk’s
crusade. Allison Greene, who founded Women Against Martha Burk, explained
it this way: "I haven't spoken to one woman -- in Augusta or any place else
-- who supports her…I can't figure out her motives, but I can tell you this:
It's certainly not to further the women's movement."
Representative Sue Burmeister took issue with Burk’s carpetbagger tactics:
"I don't like it that I have Martha Burk coming down to my district and trying
to force a private organization to do something they don't wish to do at
On April 12, when the sun rose over the manicured greens of Augusta, only
a handful of women were there to wave their placards in support of Burk’s
cause. And Augusta chairman “Hootie” Johnson stood tall. As columnist Wendy
McElroy concluded, “Burk deserves derision for making women's rights into a circus of trivial privileges.”
But step aside, because Martha’s circus is now moving to the center ring.
Recently Burk unveiled Phase Two of her feminist jihad. Repeating her tired
complaint that the Augusta National Golf Club “openly and proudly discriminates
against women,” Burk announced her Women on Wall Street initiative. Here’s
how it works:
Burk’s National Council of Women’s Organizations has partnered with law firm
Mehri and Skalet, which bills itself as a “leading legal authority on glass
ceiling, sexual harassment, and pay discrimination issues.”
Next, Burk identified those corporate giants whose top executives belong
to Augusta: American Express, Bank of America, Berkshire Hathaway, Citigroup,
Franklin Templeton , JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, and Prudential.
Finally, Burk is inviting women who work at those corporations to file sex discrimination lawsuits if they “feel” they have been mistreated.
Of course, Burk’s campaign amounts to little more than a shakedown of capitalist
America, a strategy that would make any 1960's radical proud.
But once again, Burk has miscalculated. She forgot to check her donor roster.
Kimberly Schuld’s Guide to Feminist Organizations details the financial
supporters of the 180-odd members of Burk’s National Council of Women’s Organizations.
And many of her groups count on corporate largess from the very same organizations
that are being targeted by the Women on Wall Street program.
American Express, Bank of America, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, and Prudential
– all have provided financial support to NCWO-member organizations. American
Express has been especially generous, opening its corporate wallets to the
Ms. Foundation for Women, National Women’s Law Center, National Council for
Research on Women, and Planned Parenthood.
One of these days the corporate leaders of America are going take their cue
from Hootie. They’re going to tell the radical feminist movement they will
no longer tolerate the bullying and intimidation.
Carey Roberts is a regular contributor to NewsWithViews.com, and has been published in The Washington Times and LewRockwell.com, among others.
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