I was working in my home office, with ESPN First Take as background noise, when I happened to catch the news alert at the bottom of the screen. “Augusta allows first women members”. I called out to my husband in the front room, who changed the channel to see the report that followed. I watched the report and thought about my first day at work at a law firm in near Fashion Valley in San Diego, when I walked in with my pantsuit and briefcase. I went to the office I shared with my supervising paralegal and will never forget the look on her face when she saw me. “Oh, dear!” she exclaimed in her nervous way. “You can’t wear pants in the office! Only dresses or skirts!”
It was 1995 and I was a little taken aback, to say the least. I had just left a development and property management firm in Sorrento Valley for my first position with the law firm. The female CEO of the property management side of the partnership, wore fabulous Ann Taylor pantsuits to the office and all of the female staff took their cue from her. California legislature had just passed a law that year allowing pants in the workplace. Apparently the firm’s head partner at my new employment, was not implementing the dress code change until later in the year. I was a single mom and could not afford to dispute the finer aspects of dress code in the firm, so I wore skirts until the firm allowed the dress code changes.
I don’t begin to understand clubs that exclude in their membership. I realize exclusive clubs are an aspect of our society, not society itself. As we move farther away from the civil rights movement, society finds other ways to divide, to separate, in our neighborhoods, our schools, our shopping experiences, the play areas for our children (as well as adults), our politics. As a person of color, a working woman who still doesn’t earn the same as her male counterpart, at times a single mom, and overweight, I have, over the years experienced discrimination, both subtle and overt. I have benefited from government programs for minorities and women, I am sure, but I was always the one who would write in “human” when they asked my race or ethnicity, and as a single mom, eligible for food-stamps, I could never bring myself to apply for them. Looking back, it seems another world, having men pass laws so I could vote, so I could work, have paid leave when I had my children, so I could wear pants in the workplace. I watched the world change over the years, sometimes for the worse, most times for the better.
Today, I appreciate witnessing history in the making. I have said the two most beautiful places on earth are a California beach and a golf course. I don’t play golf, but I love to drive the cart and golf courses are some of the most peaceful places you will find. I am confident Ms. Rice and Ms. Moore will enjoy their new membership at Augusta, and appreciate the peace on the greens. Peace, perhaps best defined as “a state of tranquility or quiet as: a. freedom from civil disobedience, b. a state of security or order within a community provided for by law or custom”…