MAS pays tribute to the courage and excellence of its female changemakers

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Recognises 77 female associates at 14th MAS ‘Abhimani – Empowered Woman of the Year Awards’

MAS Holdings paid tribute to the exceptional contributions of its female employees across multiple countries, recognising their inspirational performances in achieving excellence within the organization and in their communities, at the company’s 14th edition of the MAS ‘Abhimani – Empowered Woman of the Year Awards.’

Dinali Pieris (Director HR) and Shaila Amalean (Patron of the Women Go Beyond Programme) presenting the Frontier Lead Executive award to Pushpita Das from MAS Intimates – Bangladesh

The awards, held under the theme ‘pride of our nation’ at the BMICH on 21st February, 2022, honoured 77 female associates from all work levels of the company, selected from among more than 500 applicants, across 40 locations and 5 countries. The awards recognised and celebrated strength in diverse aspects among these female changemakers, including contributions relating to entrepreneurship, innovation, community service and sustainability, professional competencies and leadership.

Under ‘Empowered Woman of the year’ 44 awards were presented at the event while 6 special awards were also given, relating to exemplary performance in entrepreneurship, innovation and sustainability. 13 award winners were recognised under the ‘Frontier Challenge’ while 14 recipients were honoured with ‘Leadership Awards’. Chamari Athapaththu, the Captain of the Sri Lanka Women’s Cricket Team, was the Chief Guest at the ceremony held this year, which recognised winners for 2020 and 2021.

Rajiv Dharmendra (CEO of MAS Intimates) presenting the MAS Intimates – Vidiyal – Empowered Woman of the Year award to one of the joint winners, Kaneswaran Kayenthiny.

The ‘MAS Abhimani Awards’ presented since 2004, is part of the company’s concerted initiatives to achieve and promote gender equality and empower all women and girls, within and outside the organisation. The awards recognise the importance of celebrating, profiling and sharing the success stories of female changemakers who serve as inspirational role models for all women and men, by breaking stereotypes and achieving the supposedly impossible. The awards are part of MAS’ ‘Women Go Beyond’ programme launched in 2003, which aligns with the UN Women’s Empowerment Principles and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

More than 70% of MAS’ 115,000 associates at present across 15 countries are female.

“We take pride in the remarkable achievements of these women who drive forward the apparel industry and in turn our economies; women who are contributing towards positive change for all women in their communities by challenging outdated ideas and norms,” said Thanuja Jayawardene, Head of Women Go Beyond and General Manager of Women’s Empowerment and Advocacy at MAS. “MAS remains fully committed to the long journey towards achieving gender equality.” 

The Women Go Beyond programme of MAS seeks to make a difference in the lives of their female associates, while also impacting their families and communities, by empowering women in their workplace and at home.  Through the programme, MAS challenged the accepted norm for employment, generating a paradigm shift in a profession that was previously looked down upon. The initiative looks to counter stereotypical attitudes by celebrating the work of the thousands of skilled, intelligent and passionate women who contribute to the nation’s economy, while celebrating their successes in life. 

Through the programme, in 2020, MAS created nearly 220,000 ‘opportunities’ that positively impacted the lives of their female associates, through more than 730 programmes, across all geographies that the company operates in. This included more than 45,000 opportunities in career advancement, more than 13,500 in skill development including entrepreneurship development, more than 93,000 in women’s health, more than 11,500 in creating role models and more than 55,000 opportunities in preventing gender-based violence. 

In addition, MAS has set itself a goal, to increase female representation in management and has launched multiple interventions including Unconscious Bias Reduction workshops, mentorship and sponsorship, strategies for recruitment and retention of women, flexible work arrangements and childcare support. The company has also achieved notable improvements in many other indicators over the years, including female representation in senior management, the share of women recruited for roles above executive level and reduced turnover among female associates.

MAS Holdings, the largest apparel tech company in South Asia, is among the most recognised design-to-delivery solution-providers in apparel and textile manufacturing. Home to a community of over 115,000 people, today, MAS spans across manufacturing plants in 15 countries, with established design locations placed in key style centres across the world. Catering to the demands of a dynamic and ever-changing industry, the MAS portfolio has expanded exponentially; into brands, wearable technology, FemTech, start-ups and fabric parks worldwide.


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