A VS&Co partner for more than 30 years, MAS Holdings (MAS) is the largest apparel and textile manufacturer in South Asia, and a company fundamentally built on the ethos of doing the right thing.
The company’s founders brought with them a strong set of values that have been an integral part of their upbringing and wanted to integrate these values into the people and culture at MAS. They set up facilities with air conditioning, providing benefits such as meals, lodging, transport and training – providing the majority female workforce, safety and empowerment to excel within the organization and in their communities.
These efforts led to the formalization of MAS’ flagship women’s empowerment program called Women Go Beyond, which is a best-in-class example for the industry.
Today, the company’s efforts to drive positive impact are outlined in the MAS Plan for Change. The Plan for Change is a commitment to inspire sustainable change within the MAS business, amongst its customers, people and communities, under three areas of focus: products, lives and planet.
Empowering Women to Go Beyond
The Women Go Beyond program initially began as an effort to address gaps in resources, skills, rights and needs for women, who make up the majority of the MAS workforce. Over the years, the program has evolved significantly and is now focused on empowering women and building gender equality within the business, aligned to the UN Women’s Empowerment Principles and the Sustainable Development Goals.
Women Go Beyond is a holistic framework, addressing areas such as career advancement, women’s health and reproductive rights, preventing gender-based violence, childcare support, mentorship and sponsorship for women and leadership development. The Women Go Beyond program has provided more than 3.7 million training and development opportunities since its inception.
The program also helps steer MAS towards its target for increased gender representation in management by 2025. MAS’ efforts to create gender equality include flexible work arrangements, gender transformative recruitment policies, gender sensitive communication, workshops to reduce unconscious biases and strategies to hold leaders accountable to improve female representation in management.
The Abhimani Empowered Woman of the Year Award has recognized and rewarded more than 600 female changemakers and provides a platform to share stories of exceptional women within and outside MAS. Aligned to the MAS purpose of being changemakers, enabling dreams and enriching the fabric of life on our planet, Abhimani is a key part of the company’s efforts to highlight role models, which has allowed MAS to attract and retain the best talent, and build an engaged and motivated workforce.
Prioritizing Women’s Health
The Aloka Breast Cancer Awareness program, developed by MAS Intimates, educates female team members about breast cancer and shares potential risks, symptoms and self-examination tips. The program also provides them access to screening and treatment options. Since commencement in November 2014, the program has reached more than 240,000 employees through awareness sessions.
A Life Changed for Good
When Niluka Anuruddhika joined MAS Intimates, she was a young, untrained machine operator, bursting with a can-do attitude. As she worked hard at her career, she was also supporting her parents through illness and funding her nephew’s education. Today, she is a Group Leader leading 60 team members and six team leaders, all the while being a mother of a six-year-old son and helping her nephew complete his schooling. Her ambition? To motivate more women to be empowered by introducing them to the Women Go Beyond program, so that they too can achieve their goals in life.
Building a Framework of Trust
As an organization that strongly advocates for the empowerment of all stakeholders, MAS operates within a strong code of conduct called the MAS DNA, a robust framework that is built on the MAS values. The DNA outlines guidelines and policies for respectful and ethical engagement with all internal and external parties, providing multiple avenues for grievance reporting, including an online platform that allows anonymity. MAS is working to provide a safe and inclusive workplace for all employees and stakeholders.