Walmart Asia Highlights Focus on Women’s Economic Empowerment

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Donations to women’s causes close to USD 8 million with over 20,000 women enabled in Asia since 2011

INDIACSR News Network

Hong Kong: “While conditions have improved to some degree, the challenges women face globally are still sizeable, be it with access to employment, education or even basics like food and shelter. Close to 80% of Walmart shoppers globally are women as are 60% of Walmart’s associates worldwide. This is why we have made Women’s Economic Empowerment a key priority. In Asia alone, Walmart has spent close to USD 8 million on supporting the aspirations of over 20,000 women via a wide array of programs over the last two to three years,”said Scott Price, CEO & President of Walmart Asia, speaking at a Walmart roundtable on Women’s Economic Empowerment in Hong Kong.

Walmart roundtableWalmart’s cash and kind donations and investments towards Women’s Economic Empowerment initiatives come under three areas: Sourcing from women owned businesses, Empowering women through training and Promoting diversity and inclusion.

Globally, Walmart’s goals include:
doubling its sourcing from women-owned businesses by 2016;
training 26,000 women for factory jobs in markets including India, Bangladesh and China; and
training and advance the interests of 500,000 female farmers in China, India and Latin America

Active programs over the past year in Asia include:

China
Walmart China and China Women’s Development Foundationtogether launched theWalmart Women’s Development Fundwhich aims to provide Chinese women in need with financial supportto start their own business ventures or find employment. To date, Walmart’s grants have benefited women in over 1,600 households in rural China.Projectsiteshave included agricultural andlivestock farms in Hebei, Yunnan and Inner Mongolia, as well as hand-madearts and craftsworkshops inHunan.

Japan
Walmart Japan began its co-operation with Florence, a social enterprise that resolves social problems with the help of private enterprise, following the March 2011 earthquake. The partners first co-operated on opening an Indoor Park in Fukushima as a radiation-free play space. Since then, additional grants have funded child care services for low-income single-parent families.

Walmart Japan also contributed grants and in-store donations to J’espere, a non-profit organization that supports mothers affected by the 2011 earthquake. Thus far, the Tohoku Kosodate project has helped over 5,000 women and children through consultative sessions by professional midwives and home visits offering medical or psychological support.

India
Through a network of 18 Bharti Walmart Training Centers across the country, Bharti Walmart has provided free-of-charge retail skills training to underprivileged young adults. Over 8,000 women have been trained thus far, many now in jobs at a variety of outlets including in Bharti Walmart’s Best Price Modern Wholesale and Bharti Retail’s Easyday and Easyday Market stores.

Bharti Walmart has actively engaged female entrepreneurs in small and mid-sized businesses to source a growing list of merchandise. Particularly keen to provide an opportunity to women-led start-ups, Bharti Walmart already works with over 100 female suppliers and over the next five years, is committed to engage and impact the livelihoods of 30,000 additional women across the country.

“Walmart also puts tremendous emphasis on building a strong pipeline of female leadership at all levels of the organization. For markets like China and Japan, the percentages of female senior management in our organization are already higher than the respective national averages,” added Shanthi Flynn, Senior Vice president, Human Resources for Walmart Asia.

Some of Walmart Asia’s internal initiatives to provide opportunities for women to lead include:

Women Leadership Councils: In each market since 2008, the Councils have helped build and oversee a pipeline of female talent. Female Leadership Councils have direct access to country CEOs who regularly track their progress.

Women in Leadership Forum: Annual event that invites female leaders to learn from a combination of internal senior leaders and external leadership and career experts.

Women in Leadership Workshops: A platform to enhance the capabilities of women leaders by inviting external professional experts to share about a range of topics that range from work-life balance to children’s education and improving EQ.

“In summary, Women’s Economic Empowerment is hugely important for us both internally at Walmart and in the external programs that we continue to operate,” Price concluded.

 

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