Wal-Mart plans to double the money it spends with businesses owned by women, train women around the world and encourage suppliers to employ more women and minorities.

The world's largest retailer announced today (14 September) that it plans to spend US$20bn on goods and services run by women in the US and will double its sourcing from women-owned companies in "every market".

The company said that it will launch programmes to "empower" women on farms and in factories through training, market access and career opportunities. Included is a pledge to help 60,000 women working in factories to develop the skills they need to become "more active decision makers in their jobs and for their families".

Retail training programmes are being devised to help 200,000 women internationally and another 200,000 in the US gain the skills they need for employment and a career.

The company also plans to work with its service and merchandise suppliers to increase female and minority representation on Wal-Mart accounts. It has also pledged more than $100m in grants to drive progress against these goals.

The moves come three months after the retailer won a gender-bias case in the US Supreme Court that had been running for 10 years and included up to 1.6m women workers at thousands of Wal-Mart and Sam's Club stores.

It may still face smaller gender discrimination law suits in lower courts and claims with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.