Walmart Launches Women's Initiative

    BENTONVILLE, ARKANSAS, USA - MARCH 16: (EUROPE OUT) Female Wal-Mart employees look on as a manager rewards an employee with a plaque, a common practice in the company on March 16, 2005 in Bentonville, Arkansas. Wal-Mart has been accused of discriminating against women, a charge denied by the company, March 16, 2005 in Bentonville, Arkansas, USA. Based in the small town of Bentonville, Arkansas (pop. 19,730), with 1,5 million employees and earnings of 285 billions last year, Wal-Mart has grown into the biggest corporation in the world since Sam Walton opened his first store in nearby Rogers, Arkansas, in 1962. Today Wal-Mart operates 3,700 stores in the U.S. and 1,607 abroad. The fiercely anti-union and media-shy company has recently become the target of critics regarding the treatment of its employees and the effects of its large and inexpensive stores on small local businesses. Wal-Mart is currently waging a battle to rehabilitate its image. (Photos by Gilles Mingasson/Getty Images)

    Gilles Mingasson / Getty Images

    After defeating a potential discrimination suit brought by female employees that escalated to the Supreme Court, Walmart is offering a condolence prize: a multibillion-dollar women’s initiative. The new program will involve buying $20 billion worth of products from female-owned businesses; training women worldwide to work in factories and retail; asking corporate partners to promote more women; and donating $100 million to women’s nonprofit groups. The world’s largest retail employer, Walmart may still face lawsuits over gender-based pay discrimination in lower courts. The company’s stock price jumped five cents when the initiative was announced Wednesday.

    Read it at Bloomberg News