When resolutions are adopted at the National Federation of Women’s Institutes’ annual meeting, it gives the green light to WIs to start campaigning on those issues.
Campaigning, according to Google Dictionary, is “Work in an organised and active way towards a particular goal, typically a political or social one”. Some people think that in order to be campaigning, you must be out on marches or rallies. Although these are ways in which the WI can impact on campaigns, there are many other ways to get involved.
As a respected and well-known organisation of 220,000 women, we have a platform to influence change through campaigning within the UK and beyond, whether by a change in the law or on social issues.
The wonderful thing about WI campaigns is that there is so much to get involved in that hopefully there really will be something for everyone.
Campaigns come with information packs available from the NFWI or that can be downloaded and printed off at home.
All past mandates can still be campaigned on, and the list is incredibly extensive – a few of the ones that are still relevant are: Sex Education, specifically STIs and STDs (1922), Baby Vaccinations (1924), Equal Pay (1943), Support for Young Carers (1998), Women’s Human Rights (1999), Care of Older People (2003).
There are numerous things every WI can do which link to previous campaigns, such as collecting food and sanitary products for a local foodbank; teaching knitting or baking at a community centre; persuading a garden centre to promote bee friendly plants – simple acts that engage with the local community. MPs have learnt that the WI means business, and will, if asked, meet to discuss issues of concern to WI members – what they are doing to reduce the amount of plastic waste, for example.
Successful campaigning is OAP – Organised, Accurate and Passionate. Organised – that’s down to planning; Accurate – know your stuff; Passionate – care about the subject.
Campaigning should and could be a really fun part of WI life. It’s an opportunity to make an impact on the world we live in, and have a positive influence on local communities and national legislation. And that is exciting.