Thursday, August 7, 2008


Wilstead Women's Institute tried to hold a garden party today but rain forced us indoors to Wilstead Village Hall for our strawberry cream teas. Wilstead WI has 43 members and is one of the largest and most active WI Branches in Bedfordshire.

The Women's Institute is the largest voluntary organisation for women in the UK with 205,000 members and started in 1915. It is non party political but campaigns nationally on issues important to women, eg the imprisonment of people suffering from mental illness. In 1997 Tony Blair, then a very new Prime Minister was slow handclapped at a National WI Conference when he attempted to deliver a patronising party political speech - WI ladies are feisty and not to be underestimated!

A recent Bedfordshire WI Federation was addressed by a Conservative Peer, Baroness Perry of Southwark, former Chief Inspector of Schools, who entered the House of Lords in 1991 when there were few women. Today 20% of Peers are female and their wealth of experience is invaluable to the House of Lords who have successfully challenged badly drafted Government legislation on ID cards, cloning and the proposal to hold suspected terrorists for 90 days.

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