Campaigning and WI Resolutions

The monthly mailing from the WI has dropped into the Sotonettes’ email account today and one thing we’ll be discussing over the next few months are the WI campaigns and resolutions. Campaigning is a key part of what the WI is about – we’ve mentioned some recent campaigns here on our blog recently, including Love your Libraries.  

Each year all WI members get the chance to vote on a shortlist of campaigns that have been proposed by WIs all over the country; these are known as resolutions. Passed at the WI’s AGM in June, one of the resolutions may become our key campaign for the year.

WI resolutions are well established (the first being passed in 1926) and have had real impact; this is not just a bunch of women moaning about women’s issues, this is serious campaigning and lobbying. These women have made a difference.

Did you know…?

It was a 1954 WI resolution against litter that eventually led to the formation of Keep Britain Tidy.

Some WI resolutions also reflect that these women were spearheading the fight for issues that have taken a long-time to establish into law. For example, in 1943 a resolution demanded equal pay for equal work. It was almost 30 years later in 1970, after strike action by women machinists at Ford’s Dagenham plant in 1968, that the Equal Pay Act was passed in the UK. You may remember this story from watching the film Made in Dagenham (2010).

Other resolutions that have been passed include:

• prohibiting smoking in public places (1964), not enforced in England until 2007 under the Health Act, 2006 – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smoking_ban_in_England

• lobbying for the introduction of breast screening clinics (1970s); there is now a full NHS breast screening programme

• calling for improved arrangements for people wishing to become organ donor (1974)

• calling for a public campaign on HIV and AIDS (1980s)

• calling for More Midwives (2012) – still a prevalent issue in the UK press in January 2013 – http://news.sky.com/story/1203981/midwife-shortage-putting-mums-to-be-at-risk.

The latest resolution passed is SOS for High Streets. For this campaign, the Sotonettes have developed a local Business Directory and some people went along to Small Business Saturday events held on the 7th of December 2013.

At the beginning of 2014, we all voted on the campaign for 2013/14.  You may have seen our blogs on each campaign. The choices were:
1. Increasing organ donation
2. Campaign against female genital mutilation
3. Provision of non-acute hospital beds
4. Funding for women’s centres to cater for the specific needs of vulnerable women at risk of offending

All this research into resolutions, writing blog posts and voting got us wondering… how can we get involved in proposing a resolution, so we asked!

Have a think about what issues you feel are important to you and the rest of the society, and those you think that the WI could help by campaigning. If you think you can come up with a good case, we want to hear from you!

Our next blog post will be about how those resolutions get to our main meetings to be voted upon from individual WI members – the next one we vote on could be yours!

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