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Helping Women Achieve a Common Dream

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The Huffington Post's Global Motherhood section joins Mother's Day Every Day, an initiative of the White Ribbon Alliance and CARE, in a countdown to Mother's Day. Pulling together diverse voices, Mother's Day Every Day is raising awareness and calling for greater U.S. leadership to saves the lives of moms and babies globally.

Across the globe, regardless of nationality or financial status, there is a common dream every mother has for her children -- for them to live full, healthy and productive lives. As a mother, I share that dream for my children. This weekend we'll recognize and give thanks to our mothers on a day that was founded by Anna Jarvis, a woman from my home state of West Virginia. In honoring this day in the United States, it is important that we not forget that we must work together to empower women all across the world, so that we create opportunities for all moms to fulfill this most basic dream.

After spending a number of years with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation leading their Global Development work, I recently started a new chapter with the Walmart Foundation working on Walmart's Global Women's Economic Empowerment Initiative. One of the reasons I am here is because I believe that hundreds of thousands of women's lives, and their children's lives, will be positively impacted by our efforts.

I've had the opportunity to meet and learn from women around the world. These women have inspired me with their sacrifice and drive to ensure their children live happy, healthy lives.

Walmart's Global Women's Economic Empowerment Initiative is working to create opportunity and empower women and girls in markets around the world. By investing in training, sourcing products from women, and increasing the gender diversity of our partners, we are supporting women (and mothers!) who are lifting themselves up and laying the groundwork for a stronger tomorrow.

Walmart's Social School of Retail in Brazil is an example of our plan put in to action. Women and girls who enroll, like Adriana Resende from the Parque Roseira neighborhood of Carapicuíba, Brazil, are able to obtain their first formal job, hers with Walmart. She says, "I always sold things in the street. I helped my parents at their street stand at Rua 25 de Março. Today, they are very happy and, for me, this security of being employed and in a field which I love, retailing, is great." For her, the Social School of Retail represents a competitive advantage for those who dream about getting a job in the formal marketplace. Adriana now plans to attend a college level course in business administration and continue to build her future.

In addition to supporting efforts in retail training, we're training factory workers through our partnerships with organizations like CARE. The Walmart Foundation and CARE are working together in Bangladesh on an effort that will eventually enable 5,000 women factory workers to learn reading, writing, math and analytical skills, as well as health and nutrition information. In India, Walmart and CARE are creating additional women-owned and -operated cashew processing institutions that will help 1,250 women in the cashew business achieve more equitable and consistent incomes. These women are then able to use their income to provide basic care for their children.

Walmart's role with the Initiative is in support of the larger global women's empowerment movement being led by trailblazing women like Secretary Hillary Clinton, who recently said "You can run the world in heels and pantsuits." We aim to help women all around the world prove it.

As we celebrate mothers this Sunday, let's also remember women and girls like those in India working on farms to support their families, and Adriana, who took the initiative to enroll in a program so that her she, her mother, and those who come after her will live better.

Sylvia Mathews Burwell is president of the Walmart Foundation.