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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:

Mandatory 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 this time.”

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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