Let’s hear it for being ‘deeply subversive’!

Don’t forget to tune into BBC2 at 9:00pm on Monday night to watch Cake Bakers and Trouble Makers: Lucy Worsley’s 100 Years of the WI. (This might be a bit tricky for Crowlas & Ludgvan ladies as it’s our meeting night, but make sure you catch it on BBC iPlayer later on!)


The Radio Times says:

To mark the Women’s Institute’s centenary year, historian Lucy Worsley goes beyond the stereotypes of jam and Jerusalem to reveal the surprisingly radical side of this British institution. She reveals that the WI’s humble origins in an Anglesey garden shed in 1915 were no bar to the movement’s grand ambitions to be an organisation engaged in the fight for women’s rights. She explores some of the WI’s most important campaigns, including its 1918 crusade for decent housing and its remarkably radical fight for equal pay in 1943.


The article goes on to say:

“One hundred years old this September, the WI has managed to be both part of the establishment, and, at the same time, a deeply subversive organisation.

The WI’s long lineage as a radical campaigning body often gets overshadowed by its reputation for chutney-making and other such domestic activities.”

To back up her claims, Ms Worsley points to the motions passed at the WI’s annual general meeting, which she describes as ‘a potted history of what’s been on women’s minds from improvements in rural housing to education about venereal disease.’

Here’s a little preview of Monday evening’s programme:




iamwi_15 iamwi_1 iamwi_11Today, October 1st, was a very special day for the WI in the world of social networking. We set about to dispel all the old stereotypes about WI women and to show the world that we come from all walks of life, are women of all ages and we’re also a little bit nuts.

WI members were asked to take ‘selfies’ of themselves holding signs saying “I am WI” and to post them on Facebook with an #iamwi tag. Women from all over the country joined in!

Here are some of our favourite photos:

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If you haven’t posted your photo yet, it’s not too late! Get that phone or camera out and snap away, then post your picture here.

Who did their shopping today?

Avril Woolcock (WI Advisor and member of Gwinnear WI) with the CFWI table at Sainsbury's.
Avril Woolcock (WI Advisor and member of Gwinnear WI)
with the CFWI table at Sainsbury’s.

If you paid a visit to Sainsbury’s today, you might have seen some familiar faces!

Our County Federation set up a table at the entrance to Sainsbury’s, and some of us spent the day distributing information about the W.I. and answering questions to women who might be interested in joining.

Braving the cold, we shared our enthusiasm and hopefully recruited a few new members for various Institutes throughout the county.

Diana and Jane were spotted this morning – did anyone else stop by later in the day?

New Wave vs Old Wave?

There’s an excellent piece about the W.I. in the Huffington Post today. Click here to read it.

It’s mainly about new W.I.s, particularly the ‘new wave’ institutes which have been popping up recently and how they differ from more traditional institutes.

It all got me thinking – is there a difference? And I don’t think so. While it’s lovely to have new W.I.s around and especially lovely to know that younger women are interested in joining, I don’t think what we do is really any different from what they do.

Our Crowlas & Ludgvan ladies are certainly not members of the ‘blue rinse’ brigade and neither are any of the other local W.I. members we know!

Like the new Gloucester Road W.I. in Bristol, we have  a lot of activities outside of our monthly meeting.  Like the Burton Belles, we use social media to keep in touch and get our message out. Like Manchester W.I., our members are an eclectic mix of ages and backgrounds. And like Buns and Roses, we’re interested in everything from crafts to resolutions.

So hats off to Crowlas & Ludgvan! A perfect balance of new and old wave!