Women’s economic empowerment initiative: A Walmart global commitment
In September 2011, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. launched a far-reaching global commitment to increase economic opportunities for women, not only in our stores and offices but across our global supply chain.
Improving women's employment, education and business opportunities is essential to our success as a retailer. We also believe one of the most direct ways to break the cycle of poverty is to invest in women and raise the standard of living for their families.
Over the next five years, Walmart is committed to:
- Double our sourcing globally from women-owned businesses in every retail market.
- Empower women on farms and in factories through training, market access and career opportunities. We will help 60,000 women working in factories develop the skills they need to become more active decision-makers in their jobs and for their families.
- Scale our successful retail training programs to help 200,000 women internationally.
- Work with professional service firms and merchandise suppliers with more than $1 billion in sales to increase women and minority representation on Walmart accounts.
- Support for these programs will come from more than $100 million in grants from the Walmart Foundation and direct donations from Walmart's international business.
By the numbers*
- More than one billion people live in poverty worldwide, 70 per cent of which are women.
- Nearly 800 million people cannot read or write, two-thirds of which are women.
- Women perform 80 per cent of the work on farms, but many do not receive the training necessary to make the most of their labour.
- Less than 7 per cent of venture capital goes to companies started by women.
- 90 million women are expected to join the global workforce by 2013.
- Fortune 500 companies with the highest proportion of female directors are more profitable and efficient than those with fewer female directors.
- Women control $20 trillion of annual consumer spending globally.
- Women reinvest 90 percent of their income in their families and communities.
*UN Women, Gates Foundation, Dow Jones VentureSource, Vital Voices
Taking action here at home
For Walmart Canada, the Women’s economic empowerment initiative builds powerfully on our own efforts to foster a more inclusive and diverse work environment. We actively promote a workplace where every kind of person has a seat at the table. In fact, diversity is a key to our success – because different perspectives enhance the quality of debate, which leads to better ideas, and in turn make us a better business.
Walmart Canada’s SVP of Marketing, Emma Fox is spearheading Canada’s role in driving the initiative forward. “We’re doubly fortunate that women contribute immensely to both our business and to the diversity of our talent pool. In fact, most of our customers and 65 per cent of our associates are female. But loyalty is a two-way street and this initiative is an historic opportunity to prove our relevance to women by taking real and measurable steps. Our vision for Walmart is to become the best place for women to work at all levels of our organization. We’re serious about advancing and developing opportunities for women because in this day and age, it’s simply the right thing to do.”
Walmart Canada is helping to lead the global strategy by empowering women inside and outside our workplace. Here are our defined goals:
- Develop & advance women leaders - Champion opportunities for women at all levels of our company
- Attract female talent - Increase recruiting efforts and expand internal resources
- Promote inclusion - Support culture of inclusion through policies and practices
- Invest in women round the world - Acting on our global initiative to empower women economically
In Canada, an inspired change in leadership
We can report significant progress on our first objective to Develop & advance women leaders owing to a healthy presence of exceptional female executives in senior management. Each person brings a fresh, timely vision and a highly qualified background in global business operations to their senior positions in Canada.
- Shelley Broader, President and CEO
- Gale Blank, Chief Information Officer
- Trudy Fahie, President and CEO of Walmart Canada Bank
- Emma Fox, SVP of Marketing
- Susan Muigai, Director Internal Audit