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Women's economic empowerment
About the Initiative
About the Initiative

At Walmart, we seek to create shared value—value for business and value for society—by using our strengths to address the social and environmental challenges facing customers and communities.

Working with others, we aspire to reshape whole systems to achieve significant and lasting improvement in social, environmental and economic outcomes. As much as possible, we lead through our business, then complement such efforts with our philanthropy.

The Walmart Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE) initiative brings business and philanthropy together to create opportunities for women in product supply chains around the world. Through this initiative we have sourced more than $20 billion from women-owned businesses for products and services for our U.S. business and worked with organizations to train over 1 million women who work in farms, factories, and retail across the global supply chain.

Women's Economic Empowerment - Women Owned Businesses

Empowering women makes sense for the Walmart business and for society. Most of our U.S. customers are women, and half of Walmart’s associates worldwide are women. Not only do women in the retail supply chain play a crucial role for retail business, their empowerment is crucial to the economic wellbeing of their families and communities. Women who earn an income typically invest 90 percent of it back into their families and their communities, helping to break the cycle of poverty.

The Walmart Women's Economic Empowerment Initiative at a glance

In January 2017, Walmart completed a five-year commitment to source $20 billion from women-owned businesses for our U.S. business and double our sourcing in international markets; support training for 1 million women in product supply chains in skills relevant for career advancement and market access; and work to increase diversity and inclusion in our supply chain.

  • Sourcing: Walmart met and exceeded our goal to source $20 billion from women-owned-businesses for our U.S. operations. Our purchase orders are our largest business asset. Our $20 billion investment with women-owned businesses required an increase of our annual spend through purchase orders with women-owned businesses.

Training: Walmart and the Walmart Foundation supported the training of 1 million women on farms, in factories, in retail in emerging markets and low-income women in the U.S. Our goal was to help women enhance their incomes as well as build their confidence as leaders in their workplaces.
Diversity and Inclusion: Walmart sought to foster diversity and inclusion among major suppliers by asking them to report the diverse makeup of their key account teams that service Walmart and Sam's Club. Professional service firms as well as merchandising suppliers with over $1 billion in sales with Walmart and Sam’s Club participated in a survey that captured the diverse make-up of their teams.

Additional shared value efforts at Walmart

Our WEE initiative is just one way we seek to create shared value. At Walmart, we pursue a number of business and philanthropic initiatives to enhance economic opportunity, to improve the environmental and social sustainability of product supply chains and to strengthen local communities around the world. For more about our work, please see Walmart’s annual Global Responsibility Report.

Women farmers smile at the camera.

Going Forward

The WEE initiative has generated significant insight around unique challenges and opportunities facing women working in different parts of the retail supply chain. We have created this virtual knowledge center to share practical tips and tools with others who would like to carry out similar work. In addition, we intend to apply a “gender lens” to our work in other programs, such as the Walmart Foundation’s support of veteran reintegration programs and our work with smallholder farmers, to identify and address issues uniquely faced by women.

Walmart recognizes that while progress has been made in women’s empowerment, there is still work to do. To that end, we joined a public commitment in September 2015 involving several corporate members including Procter & Gamble, Pfizer, IBM and many others convened by the Clinton Global Initiative to collectively spend $15 billion with women-owned businesses globally by 2020. And, in March 2017 at the Women’s Economic Empowerment Summit in Washington D.C., we announced a collaborative effort with eight other companies to track and report sourcing from self-identified and certified women-owned businesses in the U.S. over the next five years. We will continue to share relevant insights from such programs on this site.