Women’s Empowerment: An Important Investment

Walmart Home Office, Bentonville, Arkansas

By Doug McMillon, President & CEO, Walmart

Walmart Home Office, Bentonville, Arkansas

[These remarks followed a video montage of women from around the world telling their stories about how their lives have been changed by working with Walmart. It opened with a photo of Sam Walton.]

Isn’t it amazing to see the difference we make – and  can make – all around the world?

As the video expressed so beautifully, Sam Walton had a vision when he founded Walmart and it was to improve lives, improve communities and make the world a better place.

Sam Walton entrusted all of us – his associates – with that legacy and today we take the next big step.

Hello everyone and welcome. I am Doug McMillon of Walmart International.

I’d like to welcome our partners and guests who have joined us for today’s announcement of a new Walmart commitment.

Doug McMillon

And I’d like to welcome all of you, our associates, who have filled our auditorium here at the Home Office and who have joined us via webcast from all around the world.

What we are launching today is a truly global effort involving every segment of our business, from Walmart U.S. to Sam’s Club to Walmart International.

By working together, Walmart is going to reach across our supply chain and help women and families all around the world.

This is so important to our international business – and especially in emerging markets – where we will help remove the barriers that women face breaking into retail markets and raising their standard of living.

In the video we just watched, you saw some of the work we are already doing in places like China and Bangladesh. I have walked the farms in China where we are training farmers to be more sustainable and productive, and I have been to the factories in Bangladesh where I was moved by the work we are doing to train and educate workers.

We really do touch lives in personal and lasting ways through our business. We also believe it is our responsibility to step up and address the world’s pressing challenges.

One of the most significant challenges is women living in poverty. Globally, women are disproportionately poor. They are working hard to take care of their families but lack opportunities to become more economically self-sufficient.

We can do something about that, if we work together. Investing in women is one of the most direct ways to break the cycle of poverty and raise a family’s standard of living.

So today, Walmart is making that investment.

Our CEO, Mike Duke, is going to tell you more about it. We will also hear from Leslie Dach and Sarah Thorn, who have shepherded this initiative from the beginning. And we will be joined by Susan Chambers, who will lead a panel discussion with some of our global partners.

So let’s get started.

Mike Duke, from the day I met him, has shared his passion for community and inclusiveness and helping people live better. He has been a vocal and consistent champion for women’s empowerment, and returns from every country visit even more determined to create change.

Like Sam Walton, he believes we have the right people and the right culture to improve the world.

So Mike, please come up and tell us about this next step in our journey.