WI Campaigns 1915 - 2000

75 Years of WI Campaigns: 1915 - 2000

This selection of mandates, made from resolutions, which have shaped WI policy in the fields of health, education, children's lives and the environment through the WI's first 75 years, shows the national concerns throughout this period and the WI's influential role in the UK. 

The madates show the evolution of WI policy.  Such mandates have empowered the NFWI and grassroots members to respond to, and campaign about, issues of concern to them, from the inception of the WI to the present day.


1989: This meeting calls upon HM Government to take action to ensure that the strictest control is carried out on the importation, treatment and disposal of toxic waste material to prevent any kind of pollution to the environment.

1990: This meeting urges the Government to do everything in its power to persuade other countries, especially those which are party to the Antarctic Treaty, that Antarctica be declared a wilderness park within which the extraction of oil and minerals and other commercial, polluting and military activities should not be permitted.

1993: In view of the increased consumption of water for domestic, industrial and agricultural use, this meeting urges the Government to ensure the protection and preservation of this country's rivers, streams and ponds and to limit abstraction of water from underground sources; further to promote long-term planning and co-operation between regions.

1999: This meeting supports research into a test for ovarian cancer - the silent killer. It urges WI members to take part in research programmes and HM Government to set up clinics where any woman can be tested, as soon as a test becomes available.


1978: This meeting views with concern the complexity of the social security and taxation systems and asks HM Government to institute a complete review with the aim of harmonising and simplifying these systems and eliminating the 'poverty trap'.

1979: That in order to counteract the upsurge in violent crime and vandalism the Government be urged to introduce stronger deterrents against crime.

1982: This meeting considers that public telephone kiosks in rural areas are an essential service especially vital in emergency situations and as such should be protected by Government subsidy if necessary against recovery by British Telecom on commercial grounds.

1983: That this meeting urges the Government to bring in legislation on the status of artificially-produced human and part-human embryos.

1983: This meeting of WIs urges its members to promote and support the provision of hospice care for those patients who desire it.

1985: This meeting urges HM Government and all relevant regional and local agencies to provide immediate and continuing help for drug addicts and their families.


1966: That the NFWI should urge the Government to investigate the present state of separated mothers and the difficulties and hardship they often have in obtaining maintenance money for themselves and their children.

1966: That this meeting, noting the Brain Report on Drug Addiction... urges parents and those responsible for children and young people to make themselves aware of the very grave danger in the easy availability of habit-forming drugs and drugs of addiction.

1972: This meeting views with very real alarm the continued under-manning of the police force throughout the country and urges the Government to take immediate steps to improve the conditions and prospects of the police in order to attract more men and women of the right calibre.

1975: While welcoming the Government's Committee of Inquiry in the problems of battered wives, this meeting urges that immediate action be taken to provide alternative accommodation for these women and their children in at least every county if not every town.


1956: That the NFWI take necessary action to ensure the abolition of turnstiles in all women's conveniences and that the co-operation of kindred women's organisations be sought to secure this.

1956: This Federation deplores the continued withdrawal of bus and rail services in rural areas and urges the Minister of Transport to review the position concerning rural road and rail transport and take immediate steps for its improvement.

1962: That this meeting urges all members of WIs to make every effort to arouse public opinion to the dangers of fireworks and bonfires and that the retail sale of fireworks should be banned until a fortnight before 5 November.

1963: That this meeting welcomes the improved specialist services proposed by the Minister of Health in the large general hospitals but protests most strongly against the closing of small hospitals in country areas.


1950: That this meeting, while fully realising the difficulties of the nursing staff, deplores the fact that in some hospitals mothers and fathers are not permitted to visit their children and asks Hospital Management Committees to allow hospital visiting in agreement with doctors and sisters.

1953: That this meeting deplores the wastage of good agricultural land and requests the Planning Authorities to ensure that before planning permission is granted for the use of such land for building sites, full use should be made of all possible sites, either those left derelict by the demolition of old property or of prepared sites which have not been fully developed through change of plans... The Keep Britain Tidy group was started in 1955.

1954: That this meeting requests the NFWI to inaugurate a campaign to preserve the countryside against desecration by litter of all kinds and urges every member of the WIs to make it a personal matter to mitigate this evil. Further that anti-litter by-laws be more strictly enforced.


1936: That this meeting view with alarm the increasing amount of building on the coasts of the British Isles and with a view to the protection of such unspoilt coastline as now remains, calls upon HM Government to remind Local Authorities of their powers under the Town and Country Planning Act and if necessary to increase these powers and further urges that the footpaths around the coast formerly patrolled by the coastguards should be preserved for public use and enjoyment.

1936: That this meeting calls attention to the urgent need of amendment to the National Health Insurance Acts, so as to allow women who have previously been insured persons to be entitled to medical attendance after marriage, so long as payment of 6d per week (or some sum as may be found actuarially necessary) is paid.

1937: That this meeting urges the WIs to study the terms of the Hire Purchase and deferred Payments Systems and, as far as possible, to help members to understand the danger inherent in the systems.

1939: That the NFWI should make every effort to arouse public opinion on the dangers of leaving children of tender years alone in a house.

1943: This meeting desires to see the recognition accorded to the wartime efforts of the small producer extended and urges the Government, in framing post-war agricultural policy, to make due provision for the views of the small producers.

1943: That men and women should receive equal pay for equal work.

1945: That this meeting welcomes the suggestion of a Women's Institute College, notes with satisfaction the power to provide grants for such a purpose in Clause 100(1)(b) of the Education Act 1944 and instructs the Executive Committee to make the necessary arrangements.


1929: That this meeting urges on the Lord Chancellor the importance of having at least two female magistrates on every bench.

1930: That in view of the destruction of ancient buildings still continuing throughout the country, this meeting recognises the desirability of strengthening the powers of the Ancient Monuments Act of 1913 and urges WIs to... assist the preservation of ancient buildings in their own locality.

1930: That in view of the cruelty entailed in the training of performing animals and uselessness of the performances and the fact that most performing animals are trained abroad where there is no adequate provision as regards the prevention of cruelty... a law should be passed prohibiting the importation of performing animals into Great Britain.

1931: That this meeting welcomes the introduction of the Will and Intestacies (Family Maintenance) Bill which aims at putting an end to the injustices of the present law whereby it is possible for widows and children to be completely disinherited.

1933: That this meeting, remembering that the NFWI was founded in a time of crisis to serve Home and Country, calls upon all WI members to support efforts in their own locality to deal with unemployment and distress among both men and women.

1934: That in view of the acknowledged inadequacy of the rural water supply over a large part of this country which is a menace to health and entails great hardships to residents in villages and scattered farms, this meeting urges that Institutes should seek to co-operate with the proper authorities by collecting and supplying tabulated information as to the conditions and needs of their area.


1918: That the provision of a sufficient supply of convenient and sanitary houses, being of vital importance to women in the country, County Federations and WIs are urged to bring pressure to bear upon their local councils and, through the National Federation, upon the local Government Board to ensure that full advantage is taken in their districts of the Government scheme for State-aided housing.

1921: That the National Federation urges all WIs to use their influence to induce Local Authorities to adopt the model set of by-laws for slaughter-houses issued by the Ministry of Health and so save much unnecessary suffering.

1923: That as the sentences in cases of even the grossest cruelty to children are not of a severe enough nature, representation be made by the NFWI to the Home Secretary asking him to issue a circular to Justices urging that adequate sentences be passed against persons found guilty of serious offences against children.

1924: That WIs be asked to use their influence to secure an increase in the number of female police throughout the country and that a female police official be attached to each police station where there are cells.

1924: That the WIs be urged to approach their Local Education  Authorities and ask them to endeavour to ensure instruction for all girls of 12 years of age and upwards in plain cooking and other such domestic subjects as can be conveniently coupled therewith.