As part of the National Federation of Women’s Institutes (NFWI), Sherwood WI votes on and contributes to the NFWI campaigns process. As an organisation the WI has an incredible record of campaigning and bringing about change locally and nationally and is seen as a formidible force to be reckoned with! From breast screening, to increasing the number of midwives, Keep Britain Tidy and saving the honeybee, the campaigns and resolutions have been as diverse as our membership.
Campaigns come from members – each member has the opportunity to put forward a proposed “resolution” to NFWI, which gets voted on. The successful resolution is voted at the NFWI Annual General Meeting in June and will form the campaigns for that year.
2018 marks a century since members passed the first WI resolution. On 24 October 1918 at the NFWI’s second Annual Meeting, WI members passed the WI’s first resolution, calling for the provision of a sufficient supply of convenient and sanitary houses.
This was just the beginning. Over the last 100 years, WI members have campaigned on an incredible range of social policy, health, food and agriculture, education, environment and international causes. By exerting their individual and collective influence, WI members have increased public awareness of the issues and brought about important policy changes.
2018: Annual Meeting Resolution
At the NFWI Annual Meeting in Cardiff on 6 June 2018 delegates voted to pass a resolution which seeks to tackle the stigma associated with mental health problems.
The ‘Mental Health Matters’ resolution, which will now form the basis of a new NFWI campaign, reads:
“Mental health matters as much as physical health. The NFWI urges all WI members to recognise the importance of parity between mental health and physical health, and take action to make it as acceptable to talk about mental health issues as much as physical health issues, and to lobby government for better support for mental illness.” Callow End WI, Worcestershire Federation
The resolution was passed with 98% of the vote
2017’s campaign was about Plastic Soup-micro plastic waste.
Microplastic fibres are small plastic fragments 5mm or smaller that are shed from synthetic clothes when laundered and end up in the sea and wider environment. The scale of the problem is large; millions of people wash their clothes every week, shedding these tiny particles that are too small to be caught by the machine’s filters, flowing into the sewage system and eventually into the ocean.
Due to their small size microplastic fibres are readily ingested by aquatic life, filling up their stomachs which can eventually cause death. We also know that these fibres are ending up in the food we eat, the long term effects of which are not yet clear.
With a 98.9% majority, delegates voted overwhelmingly to support the resolution. The End Plastic Soup campaign calls for research and the development of solutions to prevent the detrimental environmental impact microplastic fibres are having on the environment.
For more information about the long history of WI campaigns, please see the NFWI page