Manitoba Women’s Institute
During its 105 years, the indomitable spirit of Nellie McClung, a speaker at the first annual convention held in 1911, is often invoked to encourage Manitoba Women’s Institute (MWI) members to carry on with their valuable work “for home and country.” The MWI supported the suffragist movement that resulted in Manitoba women receiving the right to vote in 1916. It lobbied to bring about the passage of the 1916 Manitoba Dower Law to protect the property rights of a wife. It worked hard to make health care and public health programs accessible for rural people and safe houses accessible for abused women. MWI educated women to be better homemakers believing “a nation cannot rise above the level of its homes.” MWI was at the forefront of the rural electrification program, of public restrooms in communities and of arts festivals and libraries. MWI is well known for its understanding of how to use “resolutions” to create change. Resolutions on relevant issues are locally formulated, provincially debated, and if adopted, forwarded to government and other agencies. MWI resolutions over the years have called for flashing lights and stop arms on school buses, white lines on highways and reflective tape on the sides of rail cars – all now standard practice. The organization’s work is accomplished in many ways: directing resolutions and initiating dialogue with government; delivering planned programs to educate members; providing leadership skills and encouraging personal development; working with partners such as the Faculty of Human Ecology at the University of Manitoba, the Provincial Council of Women, and Keystone Agricultural Producers for the betterment of women and rural communities; and providing opportunities for networking with women from across the province, the country and the world. MWI welcomes women of all ethnic, religious and educational backgrounds.
Board of Directors