Women

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What Walmart says…

Walmart is a great place for women to work.[1]

Walmart is a large employer of women in this country; 815,000 of Walmart’s associates – or 57% of its US workforce, are female.[2]

Walmart creates opportunities for female associates to advance in the company.[3]

Walmart’s “world-class” employment practices ensure nondiscriminatory treatment of all associates.[4]

Walmart has forged strong relationships with women’s organizations by providing them with funding.[5]

Walmart provides opportunities for female-owned supplier companies through new store construction.[6]

Walmart’s work environment is “open, engaging and respectful.”[7]

Walmart leads on social issues that matter to its customers, of whom 80% are women. [8]

What Walmart doesn’t say…

  • Walmart was the defendant in the largest class action gender discrimination lawsuit in history, Dukes v. Walmart. The plaintiffs alleged Walmart discriminated against women in promotions, pay, and job assignments. The U.S. Supreme Court dismissed the lawsuit in 2011 for technical reasons and many of the plaintiffs are in the process of filing smaller suits.
  • In Walmart supplier factories around the world, many female workers face discriminatory treatment and toil in sweatshop conditions.[9]
  • Working parents who need regular childcare have been forced to quit their jobs due to Walmart’s scheduling policies. Walmart’s insufficient sick days policy also makes it hard for working mothers to care for sick children. [10]
  • Walmart utilizes a computer-based scheduling system that prioritizes employee flexibility over schedule regularity.[11]
  • In 2001, female employees at all levels earned less than their male counterparts:
    • Women at Walmart earned $5,200 less per year than men, on average.
    • Women in hourly jobs, where the average yearly earnings totaled $18,000, earned $1,100 less per year, or $1.16 less per hour, than men in the same position.
    • Women in salaried positions, where the average salary was $50,000, earned $14,500 less per year than men in the same position.[12]
  • Crain’s Chicago Business reported in April 2011 that the first female-owned lead general contractor hired to build a Walmart store was in bankruptcy due to cost overruns of building Walmart’s first supercenter in Chicago.  According to the Associated Press, the majority of the large-scale work was actually contracted out to firms not owned by minorities, while “Wal-Mart chose Garner as the public face of the project, introducing her to media and at other events designed to boost the company’s image.”[13]
  • Walmart’s low wages are not good for any workers, but they especially hurt women. Female employees are disproportionately represented in low-paying positions. A majority of Walmart managers and officials in the US were men in 2010, even though a majority of Walmart US workers were women.[14]
  • In 2010, Walmart employed 798,881 female hourly associates,[15] who earn an average wage of just $8.81/hour.[16]
  • Walmart pushes down women’s wages locally. A 2007 study found that the opening of a new Walmart in a metropolitan area depresses wages by 0.5%-1.5% at other retail establishments.[17]  This disproportionately affects women, who made up 77.2% of clothing and accessory store workers 60.4% of department and discount store workers, and 59% of general merchandise store workers. [18]

[1] http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/10/27/us-walmart-lawsuit-idUSTRE79Q66F20111027

[2] “Associates.” Walmart Corporate. http://walmartstores.com/Diversity/309.aspx, accessed 1.27.12.

[3] “Social – Associates.” Walmart 2011 Global Responsibility Report. Available online at: http://walmartstores.com/sites/ResponsibilityReport/2011/social_associates_Diversity.aspx, accessed 1.27.12.

[4] “Workplace.” Walmart Corporate. http://walmartstores.com/Diversity/307.aspx, accessed 1.27.12.

[5] Walmart 2011 Diversity and Inclusion report. Available at: http://walmartstores.com/Diversity/305.aspx, accessed 1.27.12.

[6] http://www.chicagodefender.com/article-10563-wal-mart-promise-for-minority-contractors-lagging.html

[7] Walmart 2011 Diversity and Inclusion report. Available at: http://walmartstores.com/Diversity/305.aspx, accessed 1.27.12.

[8] Walmart 2011 Diversity and Inclusion report. Available at: http://walmartstores.com/Diversity/305.aspx, accessed 1.27.12.

[9] http://laborrights.org/creating-a-sweatfree-world/wal-mart-campaign

[10] Bethell, Katie. “Wal-Mart’s sick sick days policy.” MomsRising.org. 12/13/09. Available at: http://www.momsrising.org/blog/wal-marts-sick-sick-days-policy/

[11] Lichtenstein, Nelson. “Why Working at Walmart is Different.” Connecticut Law Review Vol. 39, No. 4. May 2007. Available at: http://connecticutlawreview.org/archive/v39n4/Lichtenstein.pdf

[12] Drogin, Richard, Ph.D. “Statistical Analysis of Gender Patterns in Wal-Mart Workforce.” 2003. Available at: http://www.walmartclass.com/staticdata/reports/r2.pdf.

[13] http://www.chicagodefender.com/article-10563-wal-mart-promise-for-minority-contractors-lagging.html

[14] “Social – Associates.” Walmart 2011 Global Responsibility Report. Available online at: http://walmartstores.com/sites/ResponsibilityReport/2011/social_associates_Diversity.aspx, accessed 1.27.12.

[15] “Social – Associates.” Walmart 2011 Global Responsibility Report. Available online at: http://walmartstores.com/sites/ResponsibilityReport/2011/social_associates_Diversity.aspx, accessed 1.27.12.

[16] http://www.gothamgazette.com/article/searchlight/20110214/203/3463

[17] Dube, Arindrajit, T. William Lester and Barry Eidlin. “A Downward Push: The Impact of Wal-mart Stores on Retail Wages and Benefits.” UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education. December 2007. Available at: http://laborcenter.berkeley.edu/retail/walmart_downward_push07.pdf

[18] “Women in the Labor Force: A Data Book.” US Bureau of Labor Statistics Report 1026. December 2010. http://www.bls.gov/cps/wlf-databook-2010.pdf. Accessed 5/17/11.