Wal-Mart Stores Inc. on Thursday revealed the launch of a five-year program to empower 60,000 women who work in the factories it uses, teaching them critical life skills such as communication, hygiene, reproductive health, occupational health and safety.
“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, vice president of Wal-Mart Ethical Sourcing.
Wal-Mart said the initiative was innovative in the retail and apparel industry since it was designed to help women at home as well as work, teaches suppliers how to sustain the program permanently and will be shared with other retailers.
The program, which was put together with the help of aid groups, will be rolled out to Bangladesh and India this year, with China and Central America coming later.
The Women in Factories program is part of the Global Women’s Economic Empowerment Initiative that Wal-Mart’s president and chief executive officer Mike Duke laid out in September. The retailer has been criticized in the past for its treatment of its female workforce, which has sparked a number of lawsuits alleging gender discrimination. The most famous is the Betty Dukes v. Wal-Mart case, which went to the Supreme Court seeking class action but was denied and now has reverted back to cases at the local court level.
Wal-Mart, which chalked up $444 billion in sales last year, became the world’s largest retailer by squeezing cost out of the supply chain and passing on much of the savings to shoppers in the form of low prices. Ultimately, Wal-Mart sees women’s issues as a bottom-line issue.
“By educating and empowering women in factories and creating a stronger supply chain, suppliers realize greater efficiencies in their factories, which should result in higher quality products, lower prices and more reliable product availability for customers,” said Michelle Gloeckler, senior vice president of Home for Wal-Mart.
Through its women’s economic empowerment program, Wal-Mart aims to source more from women-owned businesses, help women on farms and in factories and supply job training and education.
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews