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The Power of Balance: #BalanceforBetter

By Bidisha Rudra, President Essilor Women’s Network

International Women's Day is observed annually on March 8th. This global observance celebrates women's achievements throughout history and across nations. On this day, women connect, celebrate and commit to empowering their lives, both personally and professionally. The theme for this year’s celebration is “Balance for Better” as balance drives a better workplace, community, economy and in the end, a more just society. 

Amartya Sen, a renowned economist and Nobel Laureate once said, “Women are, in this broadened perspective, not passive recipients of welfare enhancing help brought about by society, but are active promoters and facilitators of social transformations. Such transformations influence, of course, the lives and well-being of women, but also those of men and all children ~ boys as well as girls.” Echoing Professor Sen, balance is not just a women’s issue – it has become a societal issue. Balance can be achieved when women and men enjoy the same rights and opportunities across all sectors of society, when aspirations and needs of both women and men are equally valued. There is a stronger need for gender balance in our families, in the workforce, in income, in our boardrooms, in representation in the government, and so on. This balance can be achieved with collaborative efforts by both women and men.

The Essilor Women’s Network (EWN) has focused on balance since its beginning at Essilor of America (EOA) in 2011. The business resource group inspires, develops and empowers its members to contribute at their highest level and to contribute the overall success of the organization. EWN now boasts nearly 600 members – including 14% men who embody our core WIRED values of Working Together, Innovation, Respect and Trust, Entrepreneurial Spirit and Diversity & Inclusion. These values bind us together in our quest for unity without uniformity and diversity without fragmentation. This year, EWN continues to be a sanctuary and platform for employees to promote enrichment, equality and empowerment in their professional lives.

EOA is also committed to “Balance for Better” through its commitment for a more inclusive workplace, which includes gender equity. In addition to supporting mentoring programs, community service opportunities, health and wellness benefits, and new vacation policies, EOA is making steady progress toward increasing the representation of women at all levels of the organization.  Women make up 44% of exempt roles today compared to 41% in 2015, with more women in director and above leadership roles at EOA than ever before – including our Chief Financial Officer, Chief Marketing Officer and SVP Customer Development who sit on EOA’s Leadership Team.  The numbers are a strong indicator toward gender equity, and the company is doing more to facilitate inclusion and diversity that embraces all employees and their experiences at EOA.

According to Eleanor Roosevelt, “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”   Essilor Women’s Network is the sanctuary and platform for all the members, both women and men, who want to promote and permeate this underlying theme of enrichment, equality and empowerment in our professional lives. On March 8th, we promise to create our own stairway to success with renewed hopes and aspirations for a gender equitable world.