Walmart is working along side USAID on a global women's empowerment project to promote women's business and sustainable development. Announced in 2011, the project is aimed to increase sourcing from women owned business around the world, provide more with access to education and job training, and empower women on farms and factories through market access, and career opportunities.
The USAID-Walmart agreement, Feed The Future, is now taking off in Central America. With a goal of helping women and farmers, the Feed the Future initiative helps attain better access to modern international supply chains, increase their personal income and allow for economic development within their communities.
According to USAID, Walmart made a sizable investment in small to medium farms in 2012.
"Walmart has purchased 75 million in produce from 3400 small to medium sized farmers last year accounting n for 36% of fruit and grain sold in Central American."
With the efforts of USAID's training on standards and harvest production combined farmers access to markets within Walmart, local farmers will be able to increase their crop production and income allowing them to nourish their families and access greater agricultural resources for their farms. In return, Walmart will have access to more farms, more diversified fruit and vegetable products for their markets and will be able to provide the local communities products they want in order to lead more sustainable lives.
Walmart has had quite a negative and discriminating past especially, involving unfair treatment of women in the work place. Could this be their way of rectifying their company and vindicating their reputation?
The Global Women's Economic Empowerment initiative can be a life changer for women all over the world if done properly. Especially in places like India that could allow more women to be economically independent and better educated. Whether Walmart is trying to improve their reputability or not, their commitment to improve the lives of women all over the world while increasing their business and economic capabilities will hopefully inspire other major corporations to join in and recognize the important role of women in the economic sector.