Sparking Change for Women, Girls and the Next Generation

March 8, 2019

1 Min. Read
Store manager Rissa Pittman claps

March 8, 2019
By Jacqui Canney, Executive Vice President, Global People

This International Women’s Day at Walmart, we’re celebrating the contributions of women and reflecting on how to provide even more opportunity for them – whether that’s for our own associates, for women and girls in our communities or for women across our supply chain.

Walmart: A Place Where Women Can Soar

There are countless examples of women doing great things at Walmart. Take Latriece Watkins. She started as an intern and is now a senior vice president of merchandising, responsible for a multi-billion-dollar business. With degrees in computer science and engineering from Stanford and MIT, Fiona Tan is our SVP of customer technology and is responsible for innovation and engineering execution across Walmart’s digital and physical footprint. Chandra Holt, a former leader in the Sam’s Club merchandising organization who helped turn the Sam’s Club grocery business around in just a year, is now leading the SamsClub.com team as chief operating officer. Lupita Guerra started as a store management trainee. Now she is a Walmart market manager responsible for over 11 stores and 3,300 associates. The daughter of migrant workers, Lupita lives by her mother’s words: “If there is a will, there is a way.”

These women serve as role models for all of us. Their stories demonstrate that there are incredible opportunities at Walmart. And more women are taking advantage of those opportunities every day. Women comprise over 60 percent of those who graduate from our Walmart Academies in our U.S. stores. Internationally, Walmart India has been recognized as one of the best places to work for women.

Closing the Gap in Tech

We’re proud of these accolades, but we recognize there is still work to be done. Today I’m excited to announce that Walmart is investing to close the gender gap in tech across the U.S., expand the national tech talent pipeline and increase the engagement of girls in computer science education through a $3 million commitment to Girls Who Code.

Members of Girls Who Code work on a project

Unfortunately, the U.S. tech workforce does not reflect the diversity of the American population. Women and people of color are under-represented in degree programs and jobs. Our funding will support the organization's goal of growing to 10,000 clubs across the U.S. and in rural areas – nearly doubling the 6,000 Girls Who Code clubs already running across the nation.

The partnership will bring Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Programs to Northwest Arkansas for the first time, in addition to programs in California, Texas and New Jersey. We’re also one of the founding supporters of the Girls Who Code College Loops program, which was created to engage the growing Girls Who Code network of college-aged alumni.

We want to help reach areas throughout the nation that may not have previously had access to computer science programming for girls. Of course, we hope some of those girls will build a career at Walmart. From data scientists to cyber security experts to UX design jobs for grocery pickup and delivery here in the U.S. and around the world – at Walmart, a line of code can change the way the world shops.

Opportunity for Women Around the World

In addition to supporting women in our communities, we’re also supporting them throughout the supply chain. We are pleased to provide economic opportunity for diverse suppliers and proudly source from women-owned businesses like Rizo’s Curls and Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day. In fact, for International Women’s Day we’ve launched a curated marketplace of products from women owned businesses on walmart.com.

A woman works on a textile machine

Women play a key part in the global supply chain, and it’s important to promote ethical and safe practices as they work to make the products our customers love. Our responsible sourcing team is launching a new focus on promoting the dignity of women, which will concentrate efforts toward preventing and reducing harassment and violence against women at work in the global supply chain. We look forward to sharing more as this program develops.

At Walmart, we believe in using our strengths to support the success and well-being of women – from our associates to people we may never meet. We’re proud to be that place of opportunity for women today and every day.