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Walmart empowers women factory workers

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Walmart is offering the women who work in the factories that supply its products the chance for a better life with lessons in such critical life skills as communication, hygiene, reproductive health, occuputational health and safety and gender sensitivity. The Women in Factories program, a five-year initiative will benefit 60,000 women working in factories in India, Bangladesh, China and Central America. The program, which is being implemented in collaboration with local NGOs, will teach critical life skills related to communication, hygiene, reproductive health, occupational health and safety, identifying personal strengths and gender sensitivity. Up to 8,000 women will also receive leadership training to develop the work and life skills necessary for personal and career development.

"At Walmart, we know that there is perhaps no single issue more essential to the progress of our world than the progress of women. Through this program, women in the supply chain will receive the education and training they need to achieve greater success in their jobs and live a better life," said Rajan Kamalanathan, VP Walmart ethical sourcing. "We are proud to partner with local NGOs to implement this innovative program and provide new opportunities for the people and communities that are involved in the global supply chain." 

The program will be rolled out to 150 factories in India, Bangladesh, China and Central America over the next five years, initially launching in Bangladesh and India in 2012. The program was designed and will be implemented in collaboration with CARE in Bangladesh and SWASTI in India.  The program will be evaluated by Northwestern University in partnership with DAI and Mission Measurement.

The Women in Factories program is part of Walmart's Global Women's Economic Empowerment Initiative that Walmart president and CEO, Mike Duke, announced in September 2011. The initiative plays an important role in Walmart's mission of improving the lives of our suppliers, associates and customers.

Walmart's Global Women's Economic Empowerment Initiative aims to use the company's global size and scale to empower women across its supply chain by focusing on five main goals:

  • Increase sourcing from women owned businesses,

  • Empower women on farms and factories,

  • Empower women through job training and education,

  • Increase gender diversity among major suppliers; and

  • Make significant philanthropic giving toward women's economic empowerment.

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