Award winners with United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and other honoured guests
MAS Holdings Chairman Deshamanya Mahesh Amalean has been recognized for exceptional leadership in championing women’s empowerment and support for the Women’s Empowerment Principles – a partnership initiative of UN Women and the UN Global Compact. The award highlights “concrete and innovative actions taken to advance women in the workplace, marketplace and community.”
He is one of the five global business leaders recognized at this inaugural Leadership Awards presentation. He received the award for Cultural Change for Empowerment, for the pioneering MAS Women Go Beyond programme initiated by MAS Holdings in 2003. The programme challenged the accepted norms of employment for women in the Sri Lankan apparel industry, extending its impact to the South Asian region.
The Leadership Awards were presented at the fifth Annual Women’s Empower ment Principles (WEPs) event, held recently in New York, in observance of the International Women’s Day. The occasion was graced by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who gave the closing address.
Commenting on the accolade, Mahesh Amalean said, “This award is a global endorsement that we are doing the right thing in a crucial area of ethical business and encourages us to further refine and strengthen the Women Go Beyond programme.
This award will encourage me to continue giving leadership to empowering women in our organisation and the communities in which we live.”
MAS signed the Women’s Empowerment Principles i n November 2011, currently one of the only three companies in Sri Lanka to have taken this progressive step to integrate the principles into their operations. Nearly 550 chief executives worldwide have publicly declared their commitment to implement the women’s empowerment principles.
Of the total workforce, 88 percent of MAS’ teams comprises of female employees. These women of MAS improve their skills and knowledge through training, coaching and education as the company works proactively to promote work-life balance, address gender-based violence and reward their accomplishments.
Associates are made aware of their contribution to the nation’s GDP, recognized for their untiring efforts and accomplishments, their success is celebrated and they are encouraged to be proud of their job roles and secure in their roles in society. Through the years, these empowered and confident women have made a significant contribution to the growth of both the organisation and of the community.
The selection committee comprised of members of the WEPs Leadership Group representing UN WomenandtheUNGlobalCompact, business, academia, civil society, women’s organisations and international institutions. Review and assessment of the awards, which will be an annual event, was based on detailed criteria on outstanding and innovative initiatives taken by the leader within the context of the company to implement the WEPs and advance women. Other Award categories included Benchmarking for Change, Business Case for Action, Community Engagement and The Seven Principles.
“This award highlights the inspirational women of MAS whose dedication, commitment and passion help grow our business. I accept this award with great humility on behalf of the associates at MAS Holdings,” Amalean concluded.