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NATIONAL | winter 2002


Meeting Up with Martha Burk

Ms. Winter 2002

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Ms. Magazine Digest
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While Martha Burk was most recently thrust into the national spotlight for taking on explicit sex discrimination at Augusta National Golf Club, she has long been known for her relentless activism on behalf of women. Martha Burk's resume reads like a how-to guide in political activism.

BurkFrom her work as a political psychologist and her launch of the Washington Feminist Faxnet to her creation of the Center for Advancement of Public Policy and her current position as chair of the National Council for Women's Organizations, Martha Burk has dedicated much of her life to getting things done for women. Speaking in her signature smooth Texas twang, Martha Burk took a moment recently to talk with Ms. about Augusta National and her life as a feminist.

New Corporate Action Website: AugustaDiscriminates.org

Q: Why is it so important for Augusta National to admit women?

A: It is absolutely symbolic of keeping women out of power. It is the ultimate old boys club - the CEOs of many of the largest corporations belong there.

Q: Why do you think the media has latched on to this issue so much?

A: It has sex, it has money, it has power, it has sports. It has all the things the guys care about and they're still the journalists a lot of the time, they're the sports writers - they're still running the world.

Q: How does Augusta National compare to other issues women face today?

A: It's certainly not as serious as making less than the guy sitting next to you or as a girl in Afghanistan who can't go to school. Naturally, we would choose other issues to focus on such as welfare reform.

Q: What do you think it will take to get women admitted to Augusta National?

A: Economic pressure on the companies represented at the Club. Economic pressure has always been a very important tool in social change and this is no different. We really need to make sure that people keep the pressure.

Q: What happens next?

A: By April, if nothing's happened we'll certainly picket the tournament. We're keeping up the pressure against CBS - public opinion is going against them. We will keep up the corporate pressure and we will make it so that this is unacceptable, so that corporate CEOs won't go near the place. Do they want to remain the premium golf club they've been or do they want to be known as discriminators?

Q: What does it mean to be a feminist?

A: A lifetime commitment to working for the betterment of women.

Q: What advice do you have for young feminists?

A: Don't get tired and don't get discouraged. Be in it for the long haul. You have to count every small victory and remember that if you do get tired the women who come after you will fall behind.

Q: What can women do to change the political landscape to better reflect things that are important to women?

A: Vote, vote, vote. Women have to vote their own interests first. We have to stick together.