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Martha Gertrude Burk (born October 18, 1941)[1] is an American political psychologist, feminist, and former Chair of the National Council of Women's Organizations.

Martha Burk
Born (1941-10-18) October 18, 1941 (age 77)
OccupationPolitical psychologist, feminist
Spouse(s)Ralph Estes



Burk currently runs the Corporate Accountability Project for the National Council of Women's Organizations, which started the Women on Wall Street project to investigate sex discrimination at companies associated with Augusta National. She is a syndicated columnist, and serves as Money Editor for Ms. She also is producer/host of Equal Time With Martha Burk on Santa Fe Public Radio, and sits on the editorial board of the Journal of Women, Politics & Policy.[2]

In 1992, Burk became an associate of the Women's Institute for Freedom of the Press (WIFP).[3] WIFP is an American nonprofit publishing organization. The organization works to increase communication between women and connect the public with forms of women-based media.

She authored Cult of Power: Sex Discrimination in Corporate America and What Can Be Done About It, published Scribner in 2005, and more recently Your Money and Your Life: The High Stakes for Women Voters in '08 and Beyond (2008), followed by four editions (2012-2018) of Your Voice, Your Vote: The Savvy Woman's Guide to Power, Politics, and the Change We Need.

Burk served as Senior Policy Advisor for Women's Issues to New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson from 2007-2010, when he left office due to term limitations.[citation needed]

Controversy with Augusta National Golf ClubEdit

Burk is widely known for a disagreement beginning in 2002 with William "Hootie" Johnson, then chairman of Augusta National Golf Club, over admission of female members to Augusta National.[4] Burk contended that hosting the Masters Tournament at a male-only club, constituted sexism[5] because 15% of the club's membership were CEOs, many of them Fortune 500 CEOs.[5] Johnson characterized Burk's approach as "offensive and coercive",[6][7] and despite efforts to conflate the issue with sexism and civil rights,[6] Johnson maintained the issue had to do with the rights of any private club.[6]

For her part, Burk — whose childhood nickname was also Hootie[9] — was "called a man hater, anti-family, lesbian, all the usual things."[5] For his part, Johnson was portrayed as a Senator Claghorn type[10] — that is, a blustery defender of all things Southern.[11]

After calls to boycott the companies which sponsored the Masters, Johnson responded by dropping all commercial sponsorship from the tournament in both 2003 and 2004. He argued that he did not want the tournament's sponsors to become associated with a controversy surrounding the club itself.[12][13]

Following the discord, two club members resigned, Thomas H. Wyman, a former CEO of CBS, and John Snow, when President George W. Bush nominated him to serve as Secretary of the Treasury.[5]

By 2011, no woman had been admitted to Augusta National. The controversy was discussed by the International Olympic Committee when re-examining whether golf meets Olympic criteria of a "sport practiced without discrimination with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play."[14] In August 2012, the Augusta National board of directors extended membership to two women, in the wake of two gender discrimination lawsuits facilitated by Burk's organization against companies associated with Augusta National resulting in $79 million in settlements, and programmatic relief prohibiting these companies from entertaining at or in conjunction with facilities that discriminate on the basis of race or gender.

Selected bibliographyEdit

  • Burk, Martha; Hartmann, Heidi I. (10 June 1996). "Beyond the gender gap: what must the women's movement do to recover?". The Nation. 262 (23): 18.


  1. ^ "Martha Burk Biography". Encyclopedia of World Biography. Advameg, Inc. Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  2. ^ "Journal of Women, Politics & Policy - Editorial board". Taylor and Francis. Retrieved 3 June 2014.
  3. ^ "Associates | The Women's Institute for Freedom of the Press". Retrieved 2017-06-21.
  4. ^ "Sports of The Times; Hootie Is Handling the Heat on the Eve of the Masters". The New York Times, Dave Anderson, April 10, 2003. April 10, 2003. Retrieved May 12, 2010.
  5. ^ a b c d "Women of the Year 2003 Martha Burk". Ms Magazine, Mariah Burton Nelson, December 2003.
  6. ^ a b c "An interview with Augusta's Hootie Johnson". USAtoday, Doug Ferguson, AP, 11/11/2002. November 11, 2002. Retrieved May 12, 2010.
  7. ^ "Augusta defends male-only members policy". Golf Today, Year to Date News, 2002.
  8. ^ "A Master's Challenge". PBS Online Newshour, February 20, 2003.
  9. ^ "Hat in hand, Hootie's nemesis set for big day at Masters". San Francisco Chronicle, Scott Ostler, April 12, 2003. April 12, 2003.
  10. ^ "Augusta leader's record defies image". USAtoday, Harry Blauvelt, 10/21/2002. October 21, 2002. Retrieved May 12, 2010.
  11. ^ "Augusta leader's record defies image". USAtoday, Harry Blauvelt, 10/21/2002. October 21, 2002. Retrieved May 12, 2010. All agree Johnson, who has a record of access and inclusion, is one of the most unlikely people to have gotten caught up in the firestorm over Augusta membership. Yet the former University of South Carolina football player and prominent banker is being characterized nationally as a rube. "His whole life has been just the opposite of what he's being portrayed," says U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C. "He's always come down on the side of access and equality. He's not a prejudiced person in any way. He is not deserving of this controversy."
  12. ^ Stewart, Larry (2004-08-28). "Masters Is Back to Commercials". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2018-04-08.
  13. ^ YEN, William Gallo Reporting by Tom Finnerty COMPILED BY YI-WYN. "The Battle of Augusta: HOOTIE VS. MARTHA". Retrieved 2018-04-08.
  14. ^ "Is Golf Unethical?". The New York Times, Randy Cohen, August 18, 2009. August 18, 2009. Retrieved May 12, 2010.

External linksEdit