Wal-Mart needs to press harder on advancing women

By ANNE D'INNOCENZIO | June 20, 2011 | 7:44 PM EDT

NEW YORK (AP) — Wal-Mart scored a victory on Monday when the Supreme Court threw out the largest sex-discrimination case in U.S. history. Still, the nation's biggest private employer has been forced to address the issues raised in the suit.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has set up a women's council that represents each of the overseas markets and focused training and other efforts on advancing women into management roles. As a result, Wal-Mart says the percentage of entry and midlevel women managers has increased over the past five years from 38.8 percent to 41.2 percent. Some analysts say Wal-Mart is moving in the right direction, but the company has a ways to go. They note that there is only one woman among CEO Mike Duke's 11 direct reports.