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100 years of The WI: women as agents of social change lecture

To mark the centenary of the Women's Institute (WI), this unique lecture will reflect on the WI's history over the past 100 years and its story as a powerful movement for social change. From being founded by a Suffragette, to their ‘Institute MP' Mrs Margaret Winteringham, through to current actions.

Professor Maggie Andrews, Professor of Cultural History, University of Worcester, and author of The Acceptable Face of Feminism: The Women's Institute as a Social Movement will challenge perceptions about the Institute. Although rarely associated with radical activity, the event will explore the WI's relationship with feminism and social campaigning.

The Women's Institute was formed in 1915 to revitalise rural communities and involve women 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. It 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 organisation is non-sectarian and strictly non-party political.

The lecture follows the first ever WI meeting in the House of Commons. The meeting (invitation only) will launch a major new publication reflecting on the WI's history and its members' views on some of the UK's biggest social issues.

Presented in partnership with the National Federation of Woman's Institute (NFWI).

This Festival of Freedoms event aligns with the Foundation of the National Union of Women's Suffrage Society banner from ‘The Beginnings of that Freedome' exhibition in Westminster Hall.


This event is free of charge, but please book your place.
If you have any questions, please contact

 View all Festival of Freedoms events


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