About the Women's Institute



The history of the WI

First WI meeting held in 1915 
The first WI meeting in the UK was held in Llanfairpwll on Anglesey, Wales, on 16 September 1915.  Since then, the organisation has grown to become the largest women's voluntary organisations in the UK with over 212,000 members in 6,600 WIs.


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.  

The Women's Institute (WI) was formed in 1915 to revitalise rural communities and encourage women to become more involved in producing food during the First World War. Since then the organisation's aims have broadened and the WI is now the largest voluntary women's organisation in the UK. The WI will celebrate its centenary in 2015 and currently has 212,000 members in around 6,600 WIs.

The WI plays a unique role in providing women with educational opportunities and the chance to build new skills, to take part in a wide variety of activities and to campaign on issues that matter to them and their communities.The majority of the WI's income comes from annual membership subscriptions, which is supported by funds raised by our trading arm, WI Enterprises. Other sources of revenue include grant-making bodies, educational trusts, commercial sponsors and investments.


The WIs were traditionally established in rural communities, however in 2003 a new style of WI opened in North Fulham. There are now over 30 branches of the WI in London and new urban branches of the organisation are opening every week across England and Wales.


The WI now provides educational opportunities and the chance to build new skills, to take part in a wide variety of activities and to campaign on issues that matter to them and their communities.  



 
Jam and cake baking? 

Stalls at the village fete? The Calendar Girls?
What do you think of in relation to the Women’s Institute?


The Women’s Institute (WI) is the largest women’s organisation in the UK and has 205,000 members in 6,500 WIs.

Newtown Women's Institute knitting comforts for the troops
The WIs were traditionally established in rural communities, however in 2003 a new style of WI opened in North Fulham. There are now over 30 branches of the WI in London and new urban branches of the organisation are opening every week across England and Wales.

The WI was formed in Britain in 1915 to revitalise rural communities and to encourage women to become more involved in producing food during the First World War. Since then the aims have broadened and the WI celebrated its 90th anniversary in 2005.



The WI now provides educational opportunities and the chance to build new skills, to take part in a wide variety of activities and to campaign on issues that matter to them and their communities.  More information about the WI can be found here!