A yes vote we can all agree on

After three centuries of injustice, 18 September 2014 saw a decisive change in Scotland

The prestigious Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews has finally shunned its ancient misogynistic policy banning women, and is now a mixed-sex club. Oh how jovial and upstanding they now are! But how have they gotten away with this for so long?

85% of the club’s members voted in favour of changing policy – an overwhelming majority, but, when broken down, 360 of its 2400 members still voted against change.

The Scottish Government’s secretary for sport and equalities, Shona Robison, praised the club, but, while it’s a positive step, the praise and publicity received is rather embarrassing and patronising. If only half this publicity had been spent on exposing and investigating how and why the R&A chose to remain a sexist club and were allowed to be for so long.

The ulterior motive behind this change of heart has been cleverly disguised. The R&A’s decision to reinvent itself as a mixed-sex club served only to save face a week before the Ryder Cup began at Gleneagles. The Huffington Post reveals: “The R&A was under increasing pressure … even sponsors were getting uncomfortable with the centuries-old policies barring women.”

Although the club has taken action, this is a new experience for its members, a significant number of whom did not vote for female admittance. For many, prejudice may still be rife. In many online comments, this seems the case. A Daily Mail commenter asks: “Is nowhere sacred for men now?”, while a Telegraph reader adds: “Women currently cling to the coattails of the men’s game.”

“Can we get rid of golf clubs with women only membership as well? Or does this only cut one way as usual?” questions another Mail reader. Uneducated comments such as these miss the point. Women-only golf clubs were created because women couldn’t to join regular golf clubs, and thus had to create one! Just because women have been admitted does not guarantee equality in practice.

[Serena Ruberto]

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