Walmart sued for gender discrimination
Walmart spent years defending itself 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 but without issuing a decision on the merits. Many of the plaintiffs are in the process of filing smaller suits, continuing to seek justice.
Female workers are underrepresented in management
Walmart fails to provide real opportunities for women. Female employees of Walmart are disproportionately represented in low-paying positions. The majority of Walmart managers and officials in the US were men in 2012, even though women make up 57% of the company’s US workforce.
Women get paid less at Walmart
Walmart’s low wages are not good for any workers, but they especially hurt women. A study from 2001 found that female Walmart employees at all levels earned less than their male counterparts. Women at Walmart earned $5,200 less per year than men, on average. Women who worked in hourly positions earned $1,100 less than men in the same position. Women in salaried positions earned $14,500 less than men in the same position.
In Walmart supplier factories around the world, many female workers face discriminatory treatment and toil in sweatshop conditions.
Family unfriendly scheduling
Walmart utilizes a computer-based scheduling system that prioritizes employee flexibility over schedule regularity. 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.
The Walmart PAC and Waltons’ political contributions reflect this track record. Among candidates with scores on the American Association of University Women’s 2012 Congressional scorecard, the majority of the Walmart PAC and Waltons’ contributions went to those with scores of 25 and below out of 100. In fact, over that time period they gave over $1.5 million just to candidates with scores of 0. The scorecard factors in a range of issues including the reauthorization of the Violence against Women Act, the Paycheck Fairness Act, Planned Parenthood funding, and education.
While Walmart was defending itself in court and undertaking a major PR effort to improve its image with women, it was also spending millions lobbying the federal government on issues including the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, paycheck fairness, and paid sick leave.
 Lichtenstein, Nelson. “Why Working at Walmart is Different.” Connecticut Law Review Vol. 39, No. 4. May 2007. Available at: www.connecticutlawreview.org/archive/v39n4/Lichtenstein.pdf
 Bethell, Katie. “Wal-Mart’s sick sick days policy.” MomsRising.org. 12/13/09. Available at: www.momsrising.org/blog/wal-marts-sick-sickdays-policy/
 Analysis of data from the Center for Responsive Politics and the AAUW Action Fund scorecard for the 112th Congress, available online: http://www.aauwaction.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/CVR2012.pdf
 Lobbying reports available through the Senate’s Lobbying Disclosure Act database, available online: http://soprweb.senate.gov/index.cfm?event=selectfields