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Walmart plans multi-billion dollar women's initiative

Bloomberg  |  New York 

Walmart Stores Inc, the world’s largest retailer, plans to announce a multibillion-dollar women’s initiative on Wednesday, three months after winning dismissal of a gender-bias case from the US Supreme Court.

The plan includes buying $20 billion of products from US female-owned businesses in the next five years and training women to work in factories and retail around the globe. The world’s largest private employer also will provide more than $100 million in grants to non-profit organisations aiding women.

Walmart will ask it works with to hire and promote more women, said Deisha Galberth, a spokeswoman. The move mirrors programs the retailer has previously announced, such as efforts to buy more food from farmers located near its stores.

Walmart, based in Bentonville, Arkansas, rose 5 cents to $51.64 at 10.22 am in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The shares had fallen 4.3 per cent this year before on Wednesday.

The US Supreme Court in June rejected an effort on behalf of as many as one million female workers to sue Walmart for discrimination. Filed in 2001, the suit aimed to cover every woman who worked at the retailer’s Walmart and Sam’s Club’s stores at any point since December 1998, including those not hired until years after the suit was filed.

The justices said the lawyers pressing the case failed to point to a common corporate policy that led to gender discrimination against workers.

First Published: Thu, September 15 2011. 00:54 IST