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23 August 2012

Hitting the Links

Augusta National is adding its first two women members. Good. But, golf and gender have a storied past that is unlikely to be washed away with a symbolic, albeit important, gesture. A couple years ago, an undergraduate here who was very active in campus politics and social life made a statement during his presentation at our Student Research Conference to the effect that women simply didn't enjoy golf as much as men and that was inconsequential. What he and many others fail to appreciate is that social capital is often generated during such informal and recreational encounters. If people assume that women don't enjoy the activity, they are less likely to be invited and will be disadvantaged because of it. This token gesture is a good first start, but it should not be enough to silence the critics.

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