General Electric CEO Jack Welch ignited a firestorm recently when he told female executives that to become top dogs (like him), they have to toughen up. "Over-deliver," he lectured. "Performance is it." Forget about "life balance." A couple of women walked out—and others have since condemned him as "spectacularly stupid."
Nasty though this spat was, writes Shikha Dalmia, it masks a fundamental agreement between Welch and his feminist detractors: They both regard the paucity of female CEOs as something regrettable needing correction. But if there's anything regrettable here, it's that so many men in the 21st century are still reflexively busting their derrières for the pleasure of parking them in the C-Suite.