Jack Welch offered some ‘blunt advice for women trying to climb the corporate ladder, you may have to make the tough choice about taking time off to raise your children and reaching the corner office” reports the Wall Street Journal. Well duh? But, and a big BUT, to that comment is that you may not, and this is no longer a reasonable excuse or reason for why there are so few women in positions of corporate leadership. I assume the questioning related to this article was around why so few women at the top, and Jack’s response reflects old school, chauvinistic thinking. Yes women are the ones that bear the children and are much more likely to both make the choice and have the option to stay at home, but the reality of work is that women are still ridiculously likely to face workplace discrimination which impairs their ability to succeed no matter how hard they work. I would suggest that Mr. Welch orders himself a copy of the recent white paper from the National Council For Research on Women which looks at why there are so few women in fund management, as in it is a long list of reasons for why so few women and work-life balance issues is just one of the many and way to overused.
A big thanks to Alexandra Lebenthal for sending in this thoughtful response and for bringing this article to my attention.