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Man Shed

One of the last male bastions has been breached!

The exclusive Augusta National Golf Club at the beginning of September opened its doors to women members for the first time in its 80-year history. The club has officially named former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and South Carolina busin­es­swoman Darla Moore as its first female members.

Rice said she was "delighted and honoured" with the decision, while club chairman Billy Payne said it was "a joyous occasion" in the history of the club.

But is it a joyous occasion in the history of the male of the species? Don't we need a space of our own, away from women? Or is it simply the right decision for the 21st century? We take a look at the arguments.

It's about time

There will be many people - both men and women - who feel that Augusta's decision was, frankly, a long time coming. Men-only enclaves have no place in the modern world, they would argue. They're outdated, sexist and faintly ridiculous.

At the other end of the social scale, the national network of working men's clubs started offering women full membership rights in 2007. And perhaps the most exclusive club in the UK, the Marylebone Cricket Club, opened its doors to women in 1999.

Do we need male-only spaces?

So is Augusta's decision, and the slow dying out of male bastions generally, a good thing? Or do men need a space of their own?

Many men would argue that they do, without necessarily disagreeing with Augusta's decision. Indeed, could it be that the decline of public male-only enclaves is one of the factors behind the current rise of the 'man cave'?

Last year a survey by the Halifax found that seven million men in the UK have a 'hubbyhole' - a private space of their own in or near their homes - and that countless more were planning on creating one. If those statistics are right, it suggests that men really do need places away from women.

“so have you got a man shed or do you not need one?” asks Greengates Builders Merchants Accrington, Lancashire


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