Women Will Build Walmart Stores

In partnership with the Presidency’s Department of Policies for Women, Walmart Brazil anticipates hiring 200 women workers to build the retailer’s stores. Work will begin in São Bernardo and will include 50 women

SÃO BERNARDO-SP, June 22, 2011 - Unprecedented in the Brazilian retail market, today Walmart Brazil launched a structured program aimed at hiring women to work in the construction of its new stores. The company will hire women trained through the Training Course for Women Bricklayers, promoted by city halls in partnership with the Department of Policies for Women (SPM) and the presidency.

A Sam’s Club in São Bernardo do Campo, in greater Sao Paulo, will be the first built using these women construction workers - around 50 female bricklayers will be hired for the project. By the end of the year, a total of 200 women will be employed by Walmart in cities that are building new stores and have professional training courses promoted by city halls and SPM.

"This is an important initiative within an extensive program to empower women, both internally and externally, to create a greater gender balance in companies and society", said Walmart Brazil’s CEO, Marcos Samaha.

"With this project, we help to support women’s economic development with more access to the formal labor market and more income for these workers, while we help to minimize the problem of a lack of skilled labor in the civil construction sector, due to the boom in infrastructure projects in the country", he added.

Walmart based the program to hire more female laborers on a study conducted by Catalyst, an American non-profit membership organization focusing on expanding opportunities for women, which showed that companies with more gender balance in leadership positions have better financial results. Based on this study, Walmart has been promoting studies and discussions to mobilize commercial partners, third-party sectors and the Brazilian government.

In late March, Walmart Brazil released a comprehensive diagnosis of female participation in Brazilian companies, the role played by women in society and their current participation in the labor market. The report was released in a workshop that included representatives from Walmart Brazil’s supply chain and the Minister Iriny Lopes, from the Department of Policies for Women (SPM).

"Women comprise the majority of our customers and that is why we need to understand them, meet their demands and promote their development" Samaha noted.

The goal of the program is to direct a greater number of activities toward expanding opportunities for women's development, which can be reflected not only in their professional activities, but also in the different roles women play in society.

"We believe that companies of the future will be those that manage to attract and retain this female workforce and the most advanced societies will be those more inclusive and will create better conditions for the full development of women", said Daniela de Fiori, Walmart Brazil vice president of sustainability.

INITIATIVES - Through the Walmart Institute for five years Walmart Brazil has been investing in income generation programs aimed at women. These efforts, working alongside 25 NGOs in 32 projects spread throughout Brazil, have already impacted more than 2,500 women. One of these projects, carried out with the Brazilian Center for Children and Adolescents and the Passage House, created the recently released book “Mulheres Gerando Renda” [Women Generating Income], which describes the history, objectives and methodology of the project.

Within its e-commerce channel Walmart Brazil, in partnership with the NGO Solidarium, created a specific channel to promote, release and market products manufactured by women's groups. Altogether more than 1820 women have benefited from this program.

Women also occupy 60 percent of the positions within Walmart Brazil’s training program for young people offered by Walmart Institute, called Escola Social do Varejo [Social Retail School]. This adds up to more than 1,000 young women trained. Additionally, more than 400 women have gone through training in training rooms inside community centers maintained by Walmart Brazil.

SAM´S São Bernardo – The membership club, which will be open to the public at the end of 2011, will generate 150 direct jobs in the city and more than 450 indirect jobs. The store has 15,000 m² of total built area and 5,800 m² of sales area and 228 parking spaces. Like the other Walmart units, São Bernardo club will be eco-efficient, reducing water use by 40 percent, power by 25 percent and greenhouse gases emission by 30 percent.