100 years of WI campaigns

2018 marks a century since members passed the first WI resolution. Learn more about the WI’s campaigning history and find out how you can celebrate with your WI.

Over the last 100 years WI members have campaigned on an incredible range of issues, increasing public awareness and bringing about policy change. Discover some of the WI’s campaign highlights in the timeline below.


1918: Housing

1918: Housing

The very first WI resolution was passed in October 1918 at the NFWI’s second Annual Meeting at Cathedral Hall in Westminster and called for a ‘sufficient supply of convenient and… Read more


1921: Women on jury service

The WI has always strived to ensure women play a full role in public life. This has included emphasising the importance of women jurors and magistrates.

In 1921, a resolution was… Read more


1922: Women Police

In 1922 and 1924, two resolutions were passed calling for an increase in women police. In 1922, the resolution, proposed by Staffordshire Federation, was passed in response to the disbandment… Read more


1938: Maternal health

Maternal health has always been an issue important to the WI. In the 1930s WI members found it unacceptable that rural women could not afford to receive analgesics (pain relieving… Read more


1943: Equal pay for equal work

In 1943, Bures WI in Suffolk West Federation proposed a resolution calling for ‘equal pay for equal work’. This campaign followed a debate on equality that had been rising during… Read more


1954: Keep Britain Tidy

With its roots in rural life, protection of the countryside has always been important to the WI. The issue of littering was first raised during an AGM in the 1920s;… Read more


1964: Smoking in public places

Just ten years after researchers in the UK had established a link between smoking and lung cancer, the WI passed a resolution which called for measures ‘to restrict the amount… Read more

1964: Cervical cancer screening

In the 1960s, 2,500 women died annually from cervical cancer and it was the WI who brought forward the much needed national conversation on this issue.

In 1964, a resolution proposed… Read more


1971: Plastic pollution

Plastic pollution has been an issue of great significance to WI members for several decades. While laws are beginning to come into force to ban various single-use plastics, the WI… Read more


1986: HIV and AIDS awareness

The NFWI was one of the first organisations to talk about HIV and AIDS following its 1986 resolution ‘to inform the general public of the true facts concerning the disease… Read more


1992: Fairtrade Foundation

The WI was one of the several organisations who founded the Fairtrade Foundation in 1992. Members had been campaigning throughout the 1970s and 1980s for global food security and agricultural… Read more


1994: Legal Aid

The WI has a history of supporting victims of domestic violence. In 1994 Kington with Dormston WI proposed a resolution urging the government to reverse its decision to restrict access… Read more


2008: Care Not Custody

In June 2008, the WI passed a resolution calling for an end to the inappropriate detention of people with mental health problems. This resolution was proposed by a member in… Read more


2012: More Midwives

Recognising the chronic shortages of midwives, in 2012, Horwich WI in Lancashire Federation proposed a resolution calling on the Government to ‘increase investment in the training, employment and retention of… Read more


Congratulatory message from Theresa May

In October 2018, the Prime Minister wrote to the NFWI sending her congratulations to the organisation for its 100 years of resolutions.

Get involved

There are many ways to mark this special anniversary with your WI. For ideas and resources to help plan your celebrations, including our 2018 anniversaries toolkit and commemorative postcards, visit My WI.

Contact the NFWI

  • Phone: 020 7371 9300
  • Open hours: 9am–5pm Mon–Fri
  • Address: 104 New Kings Road, London SW6 4LY

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