The Womens’ Institutes turned 100 years old in 2015

Women in Action

The British Womens’ Institutes turned 100 years old in 2015 and baking, bunting and Jam are everywhere you look. 21st_07.jpg The Great British Menu has presented its competitors with the daunting TV challenge of preparing a feast for a huge WI event, where their food will come under the scrutiny of some of the country’s most discerning cooks. 21st_01.jpg Mary Berry and her co-presenters are adjudicating carefully crafted cakes in the Great British Bake Off, in a wholesomely educational but jolly entertainment that could have been scripted by the WI. The organisation came to Britain in 1915 to invigorate rural communities and encourage women to get involved with food production in WWI, and food remains central to the WI today. Guest talks from experts in every kind of field mean members learn the skills to grow, prepare and campaign for healthy, sustainable food (along with all that cake!). 21st_11.jpg Expert craft skills and knowledge are passed from woman to woman (NULL,000 members and counting in 2015). When was the last time you saw a village/school/community fete without beautifully hand-stitched patchwork bunting? 21st_03.jpg 21st_05.jpg There’s much more to the WI than baking and bunting though, as you’ll find out on their website and in recent years they’ve been at pains to show a less Home Counties image, demonstrated when the ladies of Rylstone WI decided to make the nude calendar that spawned the film Calendar Girls, challenging perceptions everywhere. 21st_09.jpg So congratulations, then to the WI on 100 years of women in action in the UK. I think I might have to pop along myself. Bakers beware!

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