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 five 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. Also, this brief incorporates lessons learned from the Women in Factories training, specifically the personal finance module on financial literacy. This study provides insight into how financial literacy training is effective at improving workers’ financial practices outside of work and clarity on pay and promotions in the factory, but it has a limited effect on abusive behavior at work.

Women as Smallholder Farmers

Direct Farm Program

Between 2011 and 2016, the Walmart Foundation provided philanthropic grants to support more than 600,000 women farmers who were trained on environmental sustainability and productivity techniques with a goal of improving their growing practices and increasing their farm output.

Today, the Walmart Foundation supports programs that help smallholder farmers increase their income through strengthening farmer producer organizations (groups of farmers working together to sell to markets) and by helping those farmers to develop business and technical skills. These programs are focused on India, Mexico and Central America.

We apply a gender lens across our philanthropic farm market access 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. Below are some examples of gender inclusion and gender empowerment in supported grant programs are included below.

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 implement this program. The grant yielded significant insights and resources were developed to support the efforts of small and growing agriculture business to be more inclusive of women. Learn more about lessons learned and for access to the tools created.

In 2019 the Walmart Foundation awarded a second grant to the Aspen Institute to support its ANDE program. This time, as part of the Partnership for Sustainable and Inclusive Small and Growing Business program, ANDE will build strong and inclusive agricultural entrepreneurial ecosystems in Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. The work includes understanding the gender profile and gender inclusion performance of small and growing businesses and farmer producer organizations; and then using these insights to develop customized training, advice, and tools to help advance gender inclusion in these organizations and to track and measure change.


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


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. Pictured here is Kathleen McLaughlin, President of the Walmart Foundation visiting with program participants.

Using the Strengths of our Business

Walmart works to help develop small suppliers in countries around the globe, enabling them to establish their businesses as part of the regional retail supply chain. Walmart helps develop smaller producers in emerging markets through programs such as Adopta Una Pyme and Una Mano Para Crecer in Mexico and Central America, and Massmart’s Supplier Development Program in South Africa. In 2018 Walmart India committed to grow its direct sourcing from farmers to 25 percent of produce sold in its Cash & Carry stores.

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