IWD 2021: We Choose to Challenge Inequality and to Empower Women to Thrive

By March 8, 2021

Today is International Women’s Day (IWD), which celebrates “the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women.” From its inception in the early 1900s and the first gathering in 1911, IWD has marked a call to action for accelerating women’s equality. The global COVID-19 pandemic has presented significant challenges for women in the workplace and has emphasized the critical need to enable the women of Waters to succeed and contribute their talents without limitation.

At Waters, we choose to challenge inequality on IWD and every day

“Choose to Challenge,” the theme of IWD 2021, encourages us all to “choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality,” seek out and celebrate the achievements of women, and ultimately create a more inclusive world.

At Waters, this extends beyond a single day. It speaks to our core values.

Today, and every day, we choose to challenge gender inequality and celebrate the women of Waters.

I was honored to take part in the following video. Watch it to hear from Udit Batra, Ph.D., Waters President and CEO, Belinda Hyde, Ph.D., Waters SVP of Human Resources, and other members of the Waters executive team as they share what they #ChoosetoChallenge.

How compassion and inclusion have shaped me as a female leader

Reflecting on my own path in life, I am grateful for simple acts of compassion and inclusion that empowered me to dream big and provided opportunities for growth.  Starting from a young age, my parents created an environment where I could dream big without limits.

Throughout my career, there were many men and women who made space for me to be seen and heard.

Whether it was a former manager showing compassion without judgment when I returned from maternity leave, or a simple act of making space at an already crowded table for me to sit, or the hours of time mentors spent providing me feedback, challenging me to tackle uncomfortable tasks, or listening when I needed support … Each of these acts shaped me personally and professionally.

Today, I choose to create space for women to thrive because together we go further.

Fostering an inclusive workplace that drives diversity and development

As outlined in our 2025 Waters Sustainability Goals, we are deeply committed to “Leading by example in our employee development and engagement.” This means focusing on the employees we have today—and the employees we will need tomorrow—through programs and initiatives that drive diversity, inclusion, and development.

To support an inclusive work environment where diversity and innovation thrive, we formed a number of global employee Circles—including our Gender Diversity Circle (GDC).

The GDC seeks to foster a culture of gender awareness and inclusiveness, where differences are embraced and leveraged. Its goals include:

  • Leading the education and engagement of the organization on the value of diversity and “gender intelligence”
  • Engaging employees and potential employees through education, dialogue, and participation
  • Advising the organization on embedding diversity in our processes and culture

Advancing beyond the COVID-19 pandemic to empower women at Waters

Now more than ever before, we must consider gender inequality in the workplace.

“COVID-19 has exacerbated prior [gender] disparities, and it’s time that we go further than we have been before,” shared Rob Carson, Waters Senior Vice President of Corporate Development.

At Waters, we are committed to placing value on employee capabilities, strengths, and potential, regardless of gender. In order to enable success for all employees, we must continue to further a more gender-balanced organization that empowers women to pursue their full potential.

This is more than a statement.

Like many working mothers during the COVID-19 pandemic, I too have struggled with the pressures of home-schooling and childcare while managing workplace demands and priorities. Yet, despite these challenges, at Waters I am supported and encouraged to lead with compassion and inclusivity.

On IWD and beyond, let us choose to challenge the instinct to judge one another or make assumptions. Rather, let us lift each other up and create space for women to thrive.

Learn more about our commitment to gender equality, inclusion, and employee development.