If you have ever considered joining the Women’s Institue but are wondering whether it is for you, perhaps this will help you make your decision. It can offer community and the chance to be involved in making real change.
Think you know the WI? Maybe think again.
Groups across the country are renowned for running hard hitting campaigns for everything from women’s health to environmental issues. And it is an impressive list: More Midwives, Supporting British Dairy Farmers and Time to Talk About Organ Donation to name but a few.
It is these proactive qualities and the community the WI provides that attracted Rachael Madeley Davies to join her local group in Frongoch, Bala, north Wales, twelve years ago when she was 24 years old. After training as a barrister, she now farms with her husband while working for Kite Consulting.
“I remember going to WI meetings with my mum,” says Rachael, 36.
“When I joined, I worked long hours and it was a really fast paced environment, but [the WI] guaranteed me a couple of hours every month for me.
“It’s a big movement which runs campaigns around policy change and funding – it’s a women’s movement, not just jam and Jerusalem.
“I like learning and hearing all the different speakers. There’s a real depth to the sessions.”
Rachael would encourage any woman thinking of joining the WI to do so, and perhaps be a bit more open minded about it.
She says: “It opened my eyes. You feel part of a community and it’s a great bunch of women.
“I have never been a person who has friends of a certain age, and I learn as much from the older members as they learn from me. It’s a two-way process.”