The 8th of March marks International Women’s Day - a global celebration of the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.
The influential day has been celebrated for more than a century, after it was honoured for the first time on March 19 in 1911. At that time, more than one million women and men attended International Women's Day rallies, campaigning for women's rights to work, vote, be trained, to hold public office and end discrimination. The date was later changed to March 8 in 1913 and it has remained the global date for International Women's Day since.
The theme of this year’s campaign is 'EachforEqual' – to 'help create a gender equal world'.
Walmart – and George at Asda – have been supporting women with fantastic initiatives established in 2011, like 'Women in Factories' and 'Women's Economic Empowerment'.
Here's how they work…
Women in Factories
In 2011 the Walmart Foundation launched the Women in Factories Training Program, with the goal of training 60,000 women, all around the world, over five years. Teaching crucial life skills in communication, hygiene, reproductive health, occupational health and safety and gender sensitivity, another goal was to provide leadership training to 8,000 women to develop the work and life skills necessary for personal and career development.
Other advantages of the initiatives? Where to start… For one thing, through the WiF Training programme, The Walmart Foundation funded CARE to develop the curriculum – and to provide funding to non-profit organizations to implement the training (for example, CARE in Bangladesh and Swasti Health Resource Centre in India).
The WiF training programme has delivered foundational training across 18 factories, to 131, 401 women in four regions – more than double the original goal! The programme also delivered advanced training to 15,262 women (also beating the original target). Big steps in the right direction…
Women's Economic Empowerment
Also launched in 2011, the WEE initiative has historically aimed to create more opportunities for women in supply chains around the world. How? Well, the initiative sourced more than $20 billion from women-owned businesses, for products and services for Walmart – while working with organizations to train over 1 million women who work in farms, factories and retail across the global supply chain.
This makes sense because the majority of Walmart – and Asda – customers are women! And women who earn an income typically invest 90 per cent of it back into their families and communites, helping to break the cycle of poverty.
Looking to the future
In March 2019, we announced a new priority focus area to promote the dignity of women. Women play a pivotal role in our ability to create shared value—value for business and value for society.
Women account for the majority of our customers and our colleague, and we source millions every year from factories and farms that employ women and from women-owned businesses. We are committed to providing opportunities for women inside and outside of the Walmart business to grow and achieve their goals while creating a more inclusive and innovative workplace, resilient supply chain, and thriving communities.
Want to get involved in International Women's Day? Read more here. Look out for more information on the latest initiative set to launch - Dignity of Women (DoW).