Press Centre

Walmart launches global women's economic empowerment initiative

The world’s leading retailer Walmart has today launched a global initiative designed to empower women through its supply chain.

Walmart President and CEO Mike Duke launched the Global Women’s Economic Empowerment Initiative in the US today, with a commitment to accomplishing five key goals over the next five years.

These goals include:

  • Sourcing $20 billion from women-owned businesses in the U.S. and doubling sourcing from women suppliers internationally

  • Investing in new programmes that will provide education opportunities help 60,000 women working in factories supplying products to Walmart and other retailers to develop their skills

  • The delivery of existing retail training programmes will be scaled up to help 200,000 women internationally, whilst in the US, Walmart will help 200,000 women from low-income households gain job skills and access higher education

  • In markets around the world Walmart will require major professional service firms and merchandise suppliers with over $1 billion in sales to increase women and minority representation on Walmart accounts

  • Investing more than $100 million in grants to organizations that drive Women’s Economic Empowerment in the wider world. Funding for these investments will come from the Walmart Foundation and donations directly from Walmart’s international businesses.

“Helping more women live better is a defining issue for our business and our world,” said Duke. “We’re stepping up our efforts to help educate, source from and open markets for women around the world. We want them 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.”

In its commitment to Women’s Economic Empowerment, Walmart is putting to work the same model for making a difference that it is has used to take on big issues like hunger, healthy foods and sustainability. In doing so, it will partner with an array of leaders in this area, including NGO’s like CARE, Vital Voices, CountMeIn, WBENC and WeConnect International.

In the UK, Asda will support the delivery of these global goals by building on its existing work to support women in developing markets via supply chain development programmes and education initiatives.

For example, in India and Bangladesh, Asda supports BSR’s HER Project, which is working with the NGO Business for Social Responsibility on a range of initiatives in local factories that are improving the health of women and aim to reach 20,000 women by 2015. Asda has also invested in the HOPE School in Dhaka, which provides vocational training opportunities to local women.

IPL, the wholly owned subsidiary of Walmart responsible for sourcing fresh produce for Asda and other Walmart operations, is also working in development markets to support the development of new businesses, creating opportunities for women to set up their own business.

Ellie Doohan, Legal Director for Asda and Chair of IPL, comments: "IPL has been designed to ensure we are able to source the best products for our customers and give a fair price to producers by streamlining the supply chain and working closely with people on the ground.

“This relationship means we are in a unique position to support the development of a diverse pipeline of businesses in markets like Africa and the Asian subcontinent, which empower women in their own communities and support them in developing new skills.

“Added to our existing commitments to supporting health and education opportunities in India through BSR’s HER project and HOPE school, we are proud to be able to support Walmart’s global commitment to economic empowerment.”

Other Walmart countries, including China, Brazil and Mexico, have also committed to supporting the Global Women’s Economic Empowerment initiative with local programmes to support women. For additional details on Walmart’s Women’s Economic Empowerment Initiative visit

Posted in Press Centre on 14 September 2011