Our hallmark women’s empowerment platform, makes a difference in the lives of our female associates by fostering pride in their job as well as an appreciation of their place in the organisation, the community and the country. In recognition of the need to address gender equality and women’s empowerment, 2003 saw the launch of MAS Women Go Beyond (WGB); an inclusive women’s empowerment programme that raised the standards of the apparel industry in Sri Lanka.
The programme officially commenced with the structuring of the four pillars of success; Career Advancement, Work-life Balance, Skills Development and Rewarding Excellence, that centralised this approach, making women’s empowerment an integral part of MAS’ business strategy. In essence we focus on promoting knowledge, awareness, leadership skills, attitudinal changes and the ability to achieve a well-rounded and holistic life-experience.
Mainstreaming gender equality and gender sensitivity was given a company-wide mandate and became central to all of MAS’ strategic CSR initiatives with the signing of Women’s Empowerment Principles, which was jointly developed by United Nations Women and United Nations Global Compact in November 2011. The evolving employee demographics, the varied aspirations of our female associates also contributed towards this.
The initiative encourages our associates to be secure in the knowledge of themselves and their abilities, thereby ensuring their capability to tread the balance of fulfilling their career aspirations with the demands of their personal lives. With over 70% of our team being female, we provide them with a safe and secure work environment where they can thrive in their careers and personal lives.
Women empowerment at MAS begins with capacity building on multiple levels. Our female associates are talented and educated but their life circumstances may have not been conducive towards allowing them to excel. Most times, MAS has been the catalyst in challenging societal norms by empowering our female associates.
Apart from levelling the playing field by giving our female associates the opportunities and the knowledge to develop multilateral skills, we have also succeeded in changing the perception of human development by training people beyond their immediate job requirements. Stemming from these avenues are opportunities for our female associates to supplement their main source of income for further economic stability and growth. To support their development further, we provide the opportunity to learn more about personal finance management to ensure that they have a secure future.