Walmart - Annual Report Analysis

Walmart is an U.S. multinational retail corporation that operates discount outlets, supercenters, and warehouse clubs. Walmart has been long known for women’s discrimination, however, in 2011, a class action lawsuit, Walmart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, exposed its company-wide discriminatory practices and policies. Although the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Walmart, Walmart still invested heavily on improving its image with women then showcased these improvements in its annual report to counter the bad publicity and appeal to its female investors.

In its annual report, Walmart uses pictures of mother and child to show understanding of motherhood, uses pictures and texts of women in its new Global Women’s Economic Empowerment Initiative program to show its involvement in empowering women, and uses pictures and texts of female employees to projecting an image of a female-friendly workplace.

The Walmart annual report uses pictures of mother and child to show its dedication to helping women fulfill their family's needs. The Walmart U.S. page, under the Operating Segment column, a picture shows a young mother browsing the center aisle of a Walmart store with her toddler seated in the cart. Each shelf in this aisle is fully stocked and neatly organized with clear price signs on top, showing the great selection of products available at at low prices. On the bottom of the page is a slideshow with more pictures of mother and child. One picture shows a mother and her teenage daughter in their kitchen, smiling and holding two full bags of groceries with Great Value products, Walmart's generic brand, sticking out on top of one of the bags.

Another picture shows the kitchen section of the store, where a female Walmart employee is happily showing a cooking pan to a mother with her toddler in one arm. This strategy attracts female investors through showing its relationship with its female customer base. Walmart uses pictures and text of women from different countries to shows its commitment to empowering women globally. On the Global Responsibility page, Walmart talks about its new Women’s Economic Empowerment Initiative program, which supports women-owned businesses through sourcing and training.

On the Global Responsibility report is a concise bulleted list of its five-year plan to increase opportunities for women. In the blue box to the right of the page, under the title “Mexico”, is a short sentence about the number of female associates at Walmart Mexico who completed its Taking the Stage program. In another blue box in the center middle of the page, under the title “By the numbers”, is statistics of women in poverty and women in the workplace. On the bottom of the page, in two pale blue boxes, showcase two women in its Women’s Economic Empowerment Initiative program.

Each box has photo of the woman, her name, her job title, and short story on how she benefited from the program. On the very bottom of the page, in a sideshow, is picture of a group of five Walmart’s female executives at the program’s launch event. These strategies show female investors that Walmart is taking steps toward equality for women. Walmart also uses pictures and texts to shows it supports women’s advancement in the company. On the Diversity page, under the Associate column, in the Global Responsibility report, Walmart talks about its mission to create one of the best workplace for women.

The second paragraph is titled “Opportunities for women, people of color” in big blue text captures the audience’s attention. Underneath the title features the story of Rosalind Brewer, the current CEO of Sam’s Club, who is the first African-American woman to take this rank in the company. In the middle right of the page, in a pale blue box, is a photo of female store manager in De Queen, Arkansas, and a short story about her success at Walmart. She talks about the beginning of her Walmart career as a store associate and how she moved up the ladder to becoming a store manager. She talks about how Walmart provided her with opportunity to advance her career while still maintaining a work-life balance.

After the story is a section titled “the President’s Global Council of Women Leaders”, a 16-member group of female senior executives, focusing on “attracting female talent, promoting inclusion, and investing in women externally.” This section shows the photos, name, and job title of each of the 16 women. In a blue box, after these photos, is summary of their mission and their accomplishments over the past three years. These strategies show female investors that Walmart is making significant improvement on creating better work environment for women. Through using visual and verbal strategies in its annual report, Walmart is selling female investors on a new image-one that promotes gender equality through empowering women.

Walmart uses pictures of mother and child to show dedication to helping families, uses pictures and texts of women from different countries to show its global involvement in empowering women, and uses pictures and texts of female employees to project an image of a diverse workplace. These strategies used in the annual report are essential to counter bad publicity from the class action lawsuit and to improve its image with women.