The Malta Independent 21 April 2024, Sunday
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Celebrating the power and diversity of women at BOV

Monday, 11 March 2024, 11:58 Last update: about 2 months ago

Series of Initiatives Inspiring Inclusion

The 8th of March is synonymous with Women's Day - a celebration of the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women worldwide. Several initiatives were undertaken by Bank of Valletta to celebrate women's achievements while showing support towards vulnerable people in our communities.

As the Bank's CEO Kenneth Farrugia said in a message to staff, "I recognise the crucial role that women play in the Bank's success and can recall many colleagues who have been pivotal in shaping this organisation over the years. With 60% of our workforce comprised of women, I invite everyone to join me in this celebration and encourage the women of our workforce to continue making their presence felt until we truly become one unified family."

Staff from across the organisation showed their unwavering support for this cause by sharing messages and selfies to highlight the many female faces of BOV. Supporting this, a unique spotlight was placed on seven female employees from across the organisation, who showcased their individual life experiences. They all highlighted the diversity that exists within the Bank and shared their roles, passions, aspirations and also their responsibilities outside the office. These were Danielle Grima, Chief Risk Officer, Julie Grech who heads the Bank's Corporate Financing function, Rita Lovegrove who has a support role, Charline Magro from E-Banking, Marisa Said who heads Consumer Lending and Microfinancing, Christine Mizzi, Naxxar Branch Manager, and Rim Zouari from the Bank's People & Culture team.

The Bank also reached out to several non-profit making organisations that support vulnerable women, visiting their premises and offering much-needed monetary support. Speaking about this initiative, Charles Azzopardi who heads the Bank's CSR function explained, "In addition to supporting our own people through benefits that focus on holistic well-being, this year we lent a helping hand to NGOs that do invaluable work, sometimes in the dark, that make big differences to vulnerable people's lives. Four of our female colleagues personally visited the shelters and presented monetary donations to help further their mission."

Tonia Parascandalo, Head of Pensions and Insurance Services paid a visit to the St Jeanne Antide Foundation (SJAF), a family and community-focused NGO committed to offering holistic support to vulnerable families. The SOAR service offered by this NGO focuses on empowering women and children who have endured the harrowing ordeal of domestic abuse. Another shelter that found the Bank's support was il-Milja, a shelter run by Fondazzjoni Sebħ, that provides holistic services to women and their children from twelve families running away from various forms of violence. BOV representative, Jeanette Grech, along with the rest of the CSR Team discussed the vital work carried out by this NGO.

Dr Tania Camilleri from the Bank's People and Culture team paid a visit to the Migrant Women Association, which supports women migrants, refugees, and asylum-seekers who fall within the category of the extremely vulnerable, but who at the same time have great potential and capacity to overcome the tough situations they are going through. The last shelter included in this initiative was Dar Ġużeppa Debono in Gozo that lends a hand to single mothers and families, helping them understand their rights and re-inserting themselves into society. BOV was represented by Gozo Branch Manager Charmaine Borg who discussed the role of this NGO within the Gozitan community.

Another important initiative was a 30-minute podcast moderated by BOV's Tonia Parascandalo. It featured Stephanie Falzon from BPW (Business Professional Women), Graziella Castillo from Aġenzija Appoġġ, and Charmaine Bugeja. The discussion focused on the hurdles that victims of domestic violence face, and how their lack of financial independence makes their situation more acute. This clip is currently being aired on the Bank's social media channels https://fb.watch/qGDqqw55bi/. "This experience was truly a reality check for me," said Tonia Parascandalo.  "Listening to people who have lived domestic violence or who work so closely with its victims explain what an important block financial wellbeing is, is truly an eye-opener. I am convinced that if we stand with each other, we can truly help make a difference, both in supporting the vulnerable, as well as in celebrating diversity and living inclusion everywhere we are."


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