“The difference between a broken community and a thriving one is the presence of women who are being valued” – Michelle Obama
Women’s empowerment is not a marketing gig. It didn’t take a hashtag or a trend for us to care because, at Runway Kit, our female team members are the backbone of our success – and it has been from the onset.
For MAS, being recognized as one of the leading ethical clothing manufacturers in the world, women’s empowerment has been a cornerstone in the business’s path to fruition. Since its inception in 1987, female empowerment has been cementing the company’s strategic growth.
At a time when the garment industry was predominantly affixed as a sweat-shop business, MAS introduced its female-pioneering program, Women Go Beyond, driven to uplift the professional and personal lives of the company’s female team members.
Why? Because a community empowering women is a community built on strength, resilience and most importantly, on giving-back. This unwavering commitment to produce sweatshop free clothing and set the benchmark as the leader among ethical clothing manufacturers has developed to even greater heights over the years.
At MAS, with a workforce principally made up of women – in fact, 70% to be exact – Women Go Beyond substantiated the value of the female role not just in the workplace but within families and even their communities.
The Women Go Beyond initiative focuses on five key areas to provide women with not just an inclusive and sweatshop free clothing production workplace but knowledge, opportunity and access to a better quality of life.
1. Women’s health
MAS partners with doctors, nurses and healthcare professionals across the board to provide medical, family-planning and specialized care for women across all factories, retail outlets and every roof under the MAS family.
Equally important is the education on consent, choice and free-will around a woman’s sexual and reproductive rights that is otherwise a vague statement in rural communities.
2. Addressing and preventing gender-based violence
The unfortunate reality is that workplace harassment and domestic abuse is something many turn a blind eye to – but not at MAS.
By partnering with local law enforcement, hospitals and trained specialists, MAS offers company-wide educational training on addressing myths, truths and the consequences of sexual and violence-based harassment.
Women are also provided legal aid and direct access to lawyers and institutions on provisions regarding gender-based harassment and violence.
3. Career advancement
Women who empower women leave a thriving community. At MAS, female team members are given educational and training programs to climb the corporate ladder, converse confidently in English, build lasting relationships in teams, mentor others, and develop IT and computer skills so that for career opportunities to come, they are ready, even outside the MAS family.
4. Creating role models
MAS rewards, recognizes and celebrates success stories of women annually – be it at management level, shop-floor level or within the community broadly.
Acknowledgement of hard work, skill and resilience are pillars of valuing our team members.
5. Job development skills
Women are defined by more than their job roles, which is why we actively provide career development skills that allow them to seek career opportunities elsewhere.
Through workshops, hands-on sessions and classroom learnings, women are encouraged to go after their ambitions.
Celebrating 17 years of women’s empowerment, Women Go Beyond has engraved its effects to the very DNA of MAS’ ethos. With 53 manufacturing facilities, presence in 16 countries, it’s everyone’s duty to close the gendered gap.
By recognizing the basic right for women to have agency, we are part of a global movement to help our mothers, sisters and daughters to be valued, to be respected and most importantly, empowered.
We don’t need a calendar date to celebrate the value of women. Every day is an opportunity to actively listen, be educated and change to empower women around us.
Elevating women is elevating our earth – the very life form allowing you to read our efforts and us to carry them out.
We’ve never been about faux feminism – we’ve been about women going beyond.
Women can – and have been.