Do you know anything about the Women’s Institute – the good old WI? Well, in September this year the WI will be celebrating 100 years in the UK as the country’s first WI was formed in Llanfair, Anglesey on 16 September 1915 and there is a special exhibition at The Forum in Norwich 14th – 21st February entitled “The WI: Past, Present and Future”.
The WI in the UK was formed in 1915 to revitalise rural communities and encourage women to become involved in food production during World War I. Its aims have broadened somewhat since then of course and it is now the largest voluntary women’s organisation in the UK with 212,000 members in around 6,600 WIs around the country providing women with a chance to take part in a variety of activities and build new skills. The WI is keen to shake off its “jam and Jerusalem” image and actively campaigns on a wide range of issues such as organ donation, SOS for honeybees, saving High Streets and creating more midwives – though most WI meetings usually feature tea and cake somewhere too!
So did you know …
The Women’s Institute was started in Canada by Adelaide Hunter Hoodless
Its motto is “Inspiring Women”
It is non-party political and non-sectarian
There are 165 WIs in Norfolk from Acle to Yaxham (there isn’t one starting with “Z”!).
The Exhibition will feature literature and artefacts from WIs across the county and there’s an opportunity to find out more about the WI from local members and to post comments and suggestions for consideration. Meanwhile, the Centenary celebrations have started with a special baton travelling around the country and each Federation is loading photographs onto a memory stick within it to preserve memories of the current WI for future generations