Women's Institute continues to advocate for women's issues
by Sandy Lindsay


Women Today

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(L) Ellen Waye and Ruth Anne Robinson of Reid's Corners W.I. were at the recent Heritage Day celebration held at the Bruce County Museum and Cultural Centre in Southampton

The Federated Women's Institute of Canada is often thought of as primarily a rural organization when, in fact, it is also an international group that works with the United Nations on the rights of women and are committed to improving the state of the world today.

The first Women's Institute (W.I.) meeting was held in 1897 at the the Erland Lee homestead in Stoney Creek when Adelaide Hoodless spoke at a meeting for the wives of the members of the Farmers' Institute, and presented the idea of working with and for women in small town Ontario.

Many new institutes are springing up around the world today started by younger women who want to carry on the traditions and values started by those rural women almost a century ago ... women whose motto was "For Home and Country".

Throughout the years, the Women's Institutes (W.I.) have lobbied for equal pay for women, the pasteurization of milk, adding music and art to the school curriculum, the mandatory of stopping for school buses, the painting of lines on highways and many more initiatives.

There are more than 450 chapters across rural Ontario where women continue to work toward personal growth, education and the 'empowerment' of home and country. 

In addition, they maintain and preserve local history and are involved in community activities from fundraising to providing scholarships for young women going on to further studies. 

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Members also support Fall Fairs throughout the region, in addition to their local hospitals.

From an economic standpoint, most of the W.I. meet in local churches.  "We are always looking for new members," says Public Relations Officer, Ellen Waye.  "We would also like to encourage younger members to become involved and are working toward starting a Saugeen Shores chapter."

For more information about joining the Women's Institute, contact Waye at: 519-441-3877

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Tuesday, February 16, 2016