Wal-Mart announces women-friendly initiatives


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Wal-Mart Stores Inc. on Wednesday announced several new initiatives to promote women workers and women-owned businesses as part of an effort to improve its corporate image.

The nation’s largest retailer continues to deal with accusations that it doesn’t have an equal workplace and may face individual claims of sex discrimination after the U.S. Supreme Court threw out a class-action suit by female workers this year.


Among its efforts:

-- The nation’s largest retailer said it would source $20 billion from women-owned businesses in the U.S. and would double its sourcing from such businesses in every market globally.

-- It will also offer training, market access and career opportunities to 60,000 women working in factories to help them ‘develop the skills they need to become more active decision-makers in their jobs and for their families.’

-- In markets around the world, Wal-Mart will work with major professional service firms and merchandise suppliers with more than $1 billion in sales to increase women and minority representation on Wal-Mart accounts.

Wal-Mart said it would support the programs with more than $100 million in grants; funding will come from the Wal-Mart Foundation and donations directly the company’s international business.


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-- Andrea Chang