With International Women’s Day 2021 being marked on Monday, Massy Stores is celebrating the success of its long-standing Lessons in Female Empowerment (LIFE) programme designed to empower and uplift its female employees. The programme is managed and executed by Rosario Williams who built her career over 12 years at Massy Stores as a supervisor and HR officer.

In taking on the challenge to help women at various stages of their lives, Ms. Williams said, “I always try to understand and connect with people on a holistic level. I try to find out what’s happening in their homes and in their lives.  For example, a woman may show up to work but may not have had a meal for the day.  Some women have no support system – no one to turn to for help, no one to look after their children.  Some women do not think that they have choices and I believe that my role is to help them understand that they can make better decisions for their lives”.

The programme is designed for its female employees who make up 70 percent of its entire employee base. It helps women achieve their full potential in spite of their personal situations.

Roxane De Freitas, Chief Executive Officer, Massy Stores, stated, “One of our core company values is growth and continuous improvement, and that includes the personal growth of our employees. Through this developmental programme we are changing the lives of women and the lives of those around her, forever. That’s a pivotal part of our being a force for good and a responsible, sustainable business. As we celebrate International Women’s Day 2021, I want to recognise all our female employees and thank them for their valuable contribution to our success.”

“In the words of Maya Angelou, ‘Each time a woman stands up for herself she stands for all women’ and that’s the space we’re creating for our female employees to thrive,” she added. 

Annually, the LIFE programme begins in January and runs for 16 weeks, on Saturdays. It is held at the Massy Stores headquarters and is structured around specific peer to peer workshops which cover themes such as trauma, self-identity, body image, interpersonal communication, family planning, spirituality, domestic violence, and legal aid. It requires the commitment from participants to attend all sessions.

Ms. Williams manages all aspects of the programme which also involves keeping track of the progress of all participants. She also provides personal coaching and counselling on an on-going basis. Over the past eight years, she has maintained contact with approximately 250 women who regularly turn to her for advice and counsel.  If there are more specific needs from the participants, she assists them in accessing other widely available, national programmes.