Dignity of Women

We are working to improve the lives of women around the world by providing more training, market access and career opportunities.

Women account for the majority of our customers and our associates, and we source millions every year from factories and farms that employ women and from women-owned businesses. We are committed to providing opportunities for women inside and outside of Walmart to grow and achieve their goals while creating a more inclusive and innovative workplace, resilient supply chain and thriving communities.

Commitment to Advancing Women

Empowering Women Together Video Poster

Walmart and the Walmart Foundation have worked to meaningfully advance gender equity through programs in factories, farms, and with women-owned businesses over the past decade. In 2017, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation announced the completion of a five-year Women’s Economic Empowerment initiative, including a commitment to source $20 billion from women-owned businesses for its U.S. business and commitment from Walmart and the Walmart Foundation to support training for 1 million women on farms, in factories, and in retail in emerging markets. As part of this goal we launched our Women in Factories Training Program (WiF) to train 60,000 women globally over five years, and our Walmart Smallholder Farmer Training to train 1 million smallholder farmers and farm workers by the end of 2016, more than half of whom were women. Here are some of our achievements:

  • Women-owned businesses: We exceeded our goal to source $20 billion from women-owned-businesses for Walmart’s U.S. operations. Annual purchases with women-owned businesses were higher than our goal, allowing us to achieve $21.2 billion in spend from fiscal years 2013 to 2017.
  • Factories: More than 131,000 women received training through the initiative, more than doubling our goal. We learned that empowerment training can have positive impacts on the awareness of gender issues, productivity, retention, and overall worker well-being.
  • Farms: 600,000 women were trained.

We are now leveraging lessons learned from our Women’s Economic Empowerment program to create a robust shared value approach that leverages philanthropy and business to achieve sustainable outcomes along supply chains.

Women in Factories

The Women in Factories Training Program (WiF) exceeded the goal to train 60,000 women in 150 factories by training more than 131,000 women in 156 factories. Of these women, more than 12,000 have received advanced training.

A woman is handling fabric in a manufacturing plant

Women have been supported in factory training in India, Bangladesh, China, El Salvador and Honduras. Through the WiF Training Program, the Walmart Foundation funded CARE to develop the curriculum as well as provide funding to nonprofit organizations to implement the training. The program helped created a curriculum to deliver support to women in factories at scale. In addition to the women who received training, male workers and male factory supervisors also received training through the program. Including men, the program has delivered training to 189,290 individuals across the four geographies to date.

In addition to the training, the Walmart Foundation funded Tufts University to conduct research during the program to better understand the impacts of the program:

Parts of the WiF curriculum have now been integrated into a new Worker Training Toolkit for Women’s Empowerment launched in Nov 2019, the Empower@Work curriculum, funded by the Walmart Foundation. Open-source and free to download, the Toolkit serves as a resource and tool when designing, building or revamping a holistic workplace capacity building project, of which worker training is one component.

Women as Smallholder Farmers

Direct Farm Program

The Walmart smallholder farmer training goal was a five-year initiative to train 1 million smallholder farmers and farm workers by the end of 2016, half of whom would be women. Farmers were trained on environmental sustainability and productivity techniques with a goal of improving their growing practices and increasing their farm output.

We worked to create sustainable supply chains by empowering smallholder farmers with access to markets for their products. The Walmart Foundation supported training of small farmers, actively looking to identify and remove barriers that may prevent them from participating in markets that supply Walmart and other retailers.

Philanthropy

We focus on the application of a gender lens across our philanthropic portfolio, looking at specific barriers for women and working with grantees to understand what can be done to address these barriers in ways that both include and empower women. Some examples of gender inclusion and gender empowerment in supported grant programs are included below.

The Aspen Institute’s Aspen Network for Development Entrepreneurs and Value for Women. In 2016, the Walmart Foundation provided grant funding support to the Aspen Institute’s Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE) to find ways to help address the unique barriers women face in gaining access to markets. ANDE worked with Value for Women (V4W) to implemented this since concluded program. The grant yielded significant insights and developed resources to support small and growing agriculture business to create more inclusion for women. Learn more here about lessons learned and for access to the tools created.

In 2019, the Walmart Foundation awarded a grant to the Aspen Institute to support its ANDE program. As part of the Partnership for Sustainable and Inclusive Small and Growing Business program, ANDE will:

  • Build strong and inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystems in Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and South Africa connecting investors and small enterprises to deliver services and products to township and green business enterprises and farmer producer organizations (FPOs)

ICRISAT

Photo Credit: ICRISAT

Pictured here are Women Farmer Producer Organization members in the Accelerating Value Chain Benefits for Improved Income for Farmers and Nutrition for Consumers program which is implemented by the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Topics (ICRISAT) in Andhra Pradesh, India and is made possible through grant funding support from the Walmart Foundation

TechnoServe

Photo Credit: TechnoServe

The Walmart Foundation has also provided grant funding support to TechnoServe to implement its Sustainable Livelihoods for Smallholder Farmers in Andhra Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh program in India which is working to transform 25-30 FPOs impacting 25,000 farmers with at-least 50% women engagement

Using Strengths of our Business

We set a goal to help women owned businesses around the world overcome persistent hurdles and grow by creating access to markets through direct sourcing in our stores and online. To achieve our goal, Walmart developed a program with strategies around access to capital for women-owned businesses, finding and sourcing products for our stores, building supplier capacity, improving Walmart’s onboarding process, and creating tools and resources for internal associates and suppliers. From fiscal years 2013 through 2017, Walmart sourced $21.2 billion from women-owned businesses for our U.S. business and increased our spend with WOBs in some international markets.

To learn more about Walmart’s supplier diversity programs click here