Public Affairs and Campaigns
Influential and well regarded, the WI has a very strong campaigning tradition. Soon after its beginnings the National Federation of WIs (NFWI) presented and voted upon its first resolution: school dinners (1926). Resolutions are researched and proposed by individual members or WIs, with the final resolution(s) chosen by a panel taken from the general membership. Prior to voting (one member one vote) members will have discussed the merits or otherwise of the resolution(s). If passed, each resolution then has a mandate and so becomes a campaign, with each campaign being followed through for several years.
Previous and current campaigns include equal pay (1942), keeping Britain tidy (1954), a ban on smoking in public places (1964), breast screening (1975), HIV and Aids (1986) and more recently the threat of hazardous chemicals in everyday products (2006), care not custody (2008), an SOS for honey bees (2009), more midwives (2012) and organ donation (2013).
In addition, the WI is engaged in initiatives that usually involve other charities and public bodies, which are followed through for several years. Recent initiatives include Women Reaching Women and Women and Climate Change.
The Public Affairs Sub-Committee of the CFWI
Cheshire Federation has an active Public Affairs sub-committee. In addition to ensuring that members are fully briefed on national resolutions it has its own resolution and campaign process. The national resolution, SOS for honey bees was originally a Cheshire resolution and other recent CFWI resolutions include banning Chinese lanterns, working fire alarms and the rights of grandparents
Membership of the sub-committee is drawn from members of the WIs within the CFWI who have a particular interest in public affairs and campaigning. Committee members represent the WI on a variety of County committees covering, amongst others, agricultural, environmental and social issues. In addition, the committee arranges regular meetings with specialist speakers. These have included topics as varied as nanotechnology, the role of women in the 21st Century, care of the elderly, drug and sleep research and mathematics.
If you have a particular interest in current and public affairs please contact the Chair of the Public Affairs Sub-Committee, Georgina Denny. firstname.lastname@example.org
The CFWI PALs Network
Cheshire Federation is unique in having a network of members who represent WIs at meetings and then cascade information to the members of their own WI, thus keeping members up-to-date and informed about topics of particular current interest. Although PALs receive individual invitations to meetings, all meetings arranged by CFWI may be attended by any WI member. A small charge is made for each meeting, with PALs paying slightly less.
Although we have a large PAL network it is incomplete, so if your WI has no PAL and you would like to be one please contact Georgina Denny as above.