Walmart Women's Initiative Arouses Skepticism

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Walmart has announced a plan to help women business owners, but some are are questioning the company's motives.

The move comes only months after the U.S. Supreme Court threw out a class action sexual discrimination lawsuit filed against the company.

The retail giant's new commitment to women will be an expensive one.

Over the next five years, the company has pledged to spend $20 billion on products from women-owned businesses, which doubles the amount spent in previous years.

The retailer will also fund more than $100 million in grants to provide job training for low-income women and push the company's major suppliers to hire and promote more women.

This new initiative has many wondering if Walmart is only trying to polish its image.

"I'm completely underwhelmed. This is a company that has systematically discriminated against women and they think they can evade responsibilities simply by a PR stunt," said Terry O'Neill, the president and chief executive officer of the National Organization for Women.

Walmart company officials insist their efforts are not related to the lawsuit.

"We're doing it because we think it's good for our business," explained Leslie Dach, the company's executive vice president of corporate affairs.

Walmart estimates that women control $20 trillion in annual consumer spending worldwide. Company executives say empowering women helps the company to continue to develop.

"It's good for our customer. It creates economic opportunity in the communities we're trying to build our business in," Dach said.

This new plan for women is not the only way that Walmart is working to promote a more caring image. The company is also working with first lady Michelle Obama to promote healthful eating.

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