Women account for the majority of our customers and our associates, and we source millions of dollars in product and services every year from factories, farms and suppliers that employ thousands of women or are 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.
Since 2011, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation have shaped and participated in special initiatives to help empower women working in global supply chains around the world. Most recently, these initiatives include overcoming barriers to market access for women smallholder farmers through the Walmart Foundation Market Access program supporting the empowerment of women in factories through the Empower@Work Collaborative, and sourcing from women-owned businesses in the U.S. and other markets (with Walmart U.S. spending over $39 billion with women-owned businesses over the nine years ending in FY2021. Such efforts build on the insights and momentum from our five-year Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE) initiative, which ran from 2012 to 2017 and included Walmart U.S. sourcing $20 billion from women-owned businesses as well as philanthropic support to train one million women on farms, in factories and in retail settings in emerging markets.
Walmart Foundation’s Market Access program, launched in 2017, focuses on helping Farmer Producer Organizations build capacity in India, Mexico and Central America to help smallholder farmers prosper. The Walmart Foundation awarded grants of just over $52 million to benefit smallholders in India, Mexico and Central America between 2017 and the end of FY2021. These grants are expected to reach over 293,000 smallholder farmers (44% of whom are women). The grants provide access to training and capacity development along with market linkages for smallholders in Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs). As part of this total reach to smallholders, in India, the Walmart Foundation has an active $25 million five-year commitment to strengthen smallholders in FPOs. Progress against this commitment to date includes 10 grantees with grant awards of just over $20 million, providing reach to over 170,000 smallholder farmers (57% of whom are women). The Walmart Foundation's recently published white paper, Seeding advancement of women in smallholder farming: insights from the Market Access portfolio, highlights lessons learned from its Market Access portfolio. We found that the following areas are most successful in accelerating female farmers’ economic prosperity: women’s membership and leadership in farmer producer organizations, women’s skills and capacity development in farm production systems, women’s inclusive crop and marketing programs and women’s access to finance.
COVID-19 created devastating impacts on global supply chains. Low-wage, predominantly female garment workers have been disproportionately impacted, both by being put at risk and by spending savings on food and medical expenditures for their families. In October 2020, to promote benefits to factory workers with a focus on women’s well-being, Walmart entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with other retailers and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The MOU aims to establish a dialogue and identify any steps in the framework for further cooperation in activities that provide much-needed livelihood relief to the predominantly female workers in the supply chain.
Walmart continues initiatives to source from women-owned businesses and support related initiatives such as the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) Student Entrepreneur Program, the NextGen program (nurturing millennial and Generation Z enterprises), and the Women of Color program (aimed at increasing their competitiveness for inclusion in corporate supply chains).
We will continue to integrate efforts to support gender equity throughout our business, ranging from responsible sourcing standards and social auditing practices along the supply chain to internal gender equity policies, practices and commitments.
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.
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.
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.
Read more about Walmart’s supplier diversity programs.