The National Federation of Women’s Institutes (WI) is the largest voluntary women’s organisation in the UK with more than 212,000 members in over 6,600 WIs. The organisation – celebrating its 100th year – plays a unique role in enabling women to develop new skills and giving them opportunities to campaign on issues that matter to them and their communities.
The first WI meeting in the UK was held in Llanfairpwll on Anglesey, Wales, on 16 September 1915. The WI was first established to educate rural women, and to encourage countrywomen to get involved in growing and preserving food to help to increase the supply of food to the war-torn nation. Whilst the meeting venues might have changed from the local village hall to local café, the ethos and reputation of the WI remains the same, and women join now to meet new friends, learn new skills and make a difference on matters that are important to them now as fellow members did in 1915.