The WI was formed in the UK in 1915 originally to revitalise rural communities and encourage women to become more involved in producing food during the First World War.
Since that time their aims have broadened and the WI is now the largest voluntary women’s organisation in the UK. There are currently almost 220,000 members in approximately 6,300 WI’s located in England, Wales, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.
The WI provides women with educational opportunities, a chance to learn new skills, to take part in a wide range of activities and to campaign on issues that matter to both themselves and their communities. They are non-sectarian and non-party political.
The WI has a long history of campaigning on a wide range of issues that matter to women and their communities. Over the past 100 years, WI members have campaigned to empower and support women within society, exerting their individual and collective influence; brought a series of controversial issues into the public domain; and brought about many changes in legislation and government policy.
The WI is an entirely member led organisation, and the resolutions process ensures that every WI member has the opportunity to set the direction of NFWI campaigns and policy, from the grassroots up. Every year WI members have the chance to put forward issues as ‘resolutions’ that they want to see the national body campaign on. Resolutions go through a yearlong debating and consultation process. Member’s shortlist resolutions for debate in Federations and WIs, before making a final selection of resolutions to take forward for discussion at the Annual Meeting in the summer. If passed, these then become mandates and form the basis of campaigning and awareness raising activities in the years ahead.
Wording Courtesy of National Federation of WI