Inside This Issue - News
Walmart aims to help women live better
October 3rd, 2011
BENTONVILLE, Ark. – In a high-profile initiative similar to its ongoing effort to promote environmental sustainability Walmart has vowed to use its size and global reach to help improve the lives of women around the world.
The retailer has announced a five-year effort that will include training programs, business support and charitable contributions.
Specifically, by the end of 2016 Walmart says it will:
• Increase the amount of goods it buys from businesses owned by women. Over the next five years the company will source $20 billion from women-owned businesses in the United States and double its sourcing from women suppliers internationally.
• Help the women who work in the factories and farms around the world that supply Walmart and other retailers with products, offering training programs that can expand their career opportunities and market access.
• Expand retail job training programs. Walmart has promised to help 200,000 women from low-income households in the United States gain job skills and access to higher education, and to reach a similar number of women in other countries.
• Encourage suppliers and other firms to increase the number of women and minorities working on Walmart accounts.
• Donate more than $100 million to organizations that support women’s economic development.
"Helping more women live better is a defining issue for our business and our world," said Walmart president and chief executive officer Mike Duke. "We’re stepping up our efforts to help educate, source from and open markets for women around the world. We want women to view us as a retailer that is relevant to them and cares about them. We want them to be leading suppliers, managers and loyal customers."
Duke announced Walmart’s Global Women’s Economic Empowerment Initiative from a crowded meeting room at the retailer’s Bentonville, Ark., headquarters. He was joined at the announcement by the heads of some of the organizations that will benefit from the philanthropic part of the initiative, including CARE president and CEO Helene Gayle; Vital Voices president and CEO Alyse Nelson; and Count Me In founder, president and CEO Nell Merlino.
"This effort recognizes the untapped power of women around the world, and CARE is honored to partner with Walmart on this groundbreaking initiative,” said CARE’s Gayle. "Together we can sustainably and dramatically improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of women — factory workers and farmers among them. Together we will see these women change the lives of their families and communities for the better. We congratulate Walmart for taking this bold step forward."
Although Walmart has been accused of sex discrimination, charges it denies, Duke said the company is determined to be the best possible place for women to work. In that regard, Duke stated that one of the first things he did after becoming CEO at Walmart was to create the President’s Global Council of Women Leaders, a group with the stated mission of developing and advancing women leaders, building a pipeline of female talent, promoting inclusion, and investing in women outside the company.