This blog was originally posted on LinkedIn
In my life, I strive to never place limits on others — or on myself. It may seem obvious to say that we shouldn’t limit others, but if you stop to consider it, we put limits on people more often than we realize, often subconsciously. For example, in the workplace, we may only give a colleague a certain type of work without ever considering what more they could do, in effect limiting their opportunities to contribute and grow. And it’s certainly worth noting that, often, the most harmful limits are those we place on ourselves.
Sunday is International Women’s Day, and this year’s theme, #EachforEqual, made me think about how these subconscious limitations can hold all of us back from achieving equality. Historically, our society has placed limits on people based on their gender, sexuality, ethnicity, age and more. But, as I wrote last year, my fundamental belief is that talent is equally distributed across all human beings. We can only reach true equality when we allow people to contribute their talents without limitation.
Why Equality and Diversity Go Hand-in-Hand
But “equality” doesn’t mean “sameness.” Quite the opposite. Every person is unique, and those differences make us stronger — if we create a level playing field on which everyone can be seen and heard.
If we approach life with an equality mindset where everyone’s opinion and perspective are equally welcomed, I bet we will be amazed at what we receive in return. Operating with an equality mindset means never putting limits on others. It means recognizing the best ideas, regardless of where they come from. It also means committing to equal access for opportunities and resources, and equal pay for equal work.
At Waters, we bring that equality mindset to many aspects of our business. We’ve strengthened our corporate board by increasing female representation to 30% and are committed to further enhancing our diversity of backgrounds and perspectives. In our philanthropy programs, we support STEM education initiatives for girls and underserved youth. We also celebrate difference and diversity in our Employee Circles, which include the Gender Diversity Network as well as groups focusing on different cultures, members of the LGBT+ community and veterans. These circles create opportunities for more voices to be heard in the workplace. And when people are able to pursue their full potential at work — without limitation — it will spark new ideas, accelerate innovation and lead to better results.
I applaud International Women’s Day for providing a platform that allows us to talk about a larger definition of diversity and inclusion, and for adding voices that improve our companies and society. Every day, each one of us can actively take steps to help advance equality in the world. How will you promote #EachForEqual?