Women furious at ?men only? awards
By SAMANTHA TURNBULL
THE Ballina Golf Club may review its 'menonly' awards night policy after two women protested because they could not watch their sons receive their prizes.
Women were barred from attending Saturday night's President and Captain's Presentation Dinner, despite the fact some had sons as young as 12 who had played in the competition.
A similar 'women only' awards night will be held on December 8.
Heather Chesham was particularly angry she was not invited to see her son Jordan, 15, receive his prize for runner up junior champion.
"I don't care if men want to have a 'men only' event, but I do have a problem with not being able to see my son get his prize," she said.
"It is extremely discriminatory to invite fathers and sons only."
Mrs Chesham and another Ballina mother, Sue Dakin, refused to allow their sons to attend because of the rule.
The club's chief executive officer, Paul Melville, said the decision to hold an exclusive men's event was made by the board.
"On December 8 the same thing will be happening with the women's presentation. It will be a 'women only' event and the fathers of junior players won't be able to attend," he said.
He said next year the board could review its men and women only rules if the dinners were held again.
Mrs Dakin said she was concerned that if Saturday night's presentation was not 'female friendly' it would also be inappropriate for teenagers.
"The message they're sending is that it's OK to send 12-year-old boys to a function that may be quite raucous, but their parents can't go to supervise," she said.
"This is a horrible mistake that demonstrates no commitment to youth sport and encouraging family involvement."
However, Mr Melville said the presentation was not outlandish and women were working behind the bar for the event.
"There's a comedian, but he's not rude, there's no nudity, nothing like that," he said.
"Children were invited at the discretion of their parents."
Mr Melville said the presentation dinners had not taken place over the past few years and Saturday's event was a 'resurrection' of the tradition.