110: Womens Services etc badges

This entry was posted by Wednesday, 24 November, 2010
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Womens Services etc badges

Women’s Institute – For Home and Country, English & Welsh badges (1930’s)

The Women’s Institute (WI) was founded in Britain 1915 to promote the war effort by helping to revitalise communities and encouraging more women to become involved in food production. The WI motto “For Home and Country” suited these aims and was readily adopted in 1915. Since then, the aims of the WI have broadened to encompass women’s needs that promote better opportunities for self-development, educational skills, participate in a wide variety of activities, networking and campaigning on issues that matters to them and their communities (this link includes current WI campaigns www.thewi.org.uk/section.aspx?id=8 ). During WW2, the WI remained active on the Home Front with close links to the Ministry of Food, helping child evacuees, comforts schemes to provide clothing items for the troops, etc.

There are separate WI organisations in Northern Ireland (The Federation of Women’s Institutes of Northern Ireland) and in Scotland (The Scottish Women’s Rural Institutes, SWRI). The Federation of Women’s Institutes is based in London and acts as an umbrella organisation for all WIs, they also have close links with the Associated Country Women of the World, ACWW. Funding of the WI continues to come mainly from subscription.

These FOR HOME & COUNTRY badges were certainly in use from the 1920’s and into the 1950’s. If anyone can supply a more precise dating for the badge’s usage, I’d be grateful to know. The WI motto adorns both badges along with a WI monogram in the centre and on the Welsh version this is replaced by the Welsh Red Dragon. The presence of a Canadian maple leaf acknowledges the WI’s origins when in 1897, Adelaide Hoodless inaugurated the first WI meeting at Stoney Creek, Canada. It was also in 1897 that the WI motto was adopted.

The Canadian version of this badge is similar but has two maple leaves, the WI monogram and the WI motto. Here’s a pic of the New Zealand version of the same badge www.teara.govt.nz/en/farmer-and-grower-organisations/5/2/2 . There are in addition, many different designs of WI regional badges and these are highly collectable.

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