THE HISTORY OF THE WOMEN’S INSTITUTE

This information is taken from the Official WI website (http://www.thewi.org.uk/)

The Women’s Institute (WI) was formed in 1915 to revitalise rural communities and encourage women to become more involved in producing food during the First World War. Since then the organisation’s aims have broadened and the WI is now the largest voluntary women’s organisation in the UK. The WI celebrated its centenary in 2015 and currently has almost 220,000 members in approximately 6,300 WIs.

The WI plays a unique role in providing women with educational opportunities and the chance to build new skills, to take part in a wide variety of activities and to campaign on issues that matter to them and their communities.

The National Structure

The national headquarters of the WI are located in Parsons Green, London. We also have an office in Cardiff for NFWI-Wales, and an adult educational residential college, Denman, in Marcham Oxfordshire. The NFWI employs around 70 staff, headed by a General Secretary.

WI Enterprises is the trading arm of the organisation, which exists to raise funds and provide benefits for members. One of these benefits is the WI membership magazine, WI Life. Companies wishing to explore sponsorship or advertising opportunities should visit the commercial opportunities section of the site.

The Regional Structure

Our 6,300 WIs are grouped together to form 69 county and island federations, each with a regional office. Together the WIs and federations make up the National Federation. Each level of the organisation is run by a committee of elected members. The NFWI Board of Trustees is democratically elected every two years by the members.

Funding

The majority of our income comes from annual membership subscriptions, supported by funds raised by our trading arm, WI Enterprises. Other sources of revenue include grant-making bodies, educational trusts, commercial sponsors and investments.