A hundred years of Girl Power: Celebrating the W.I. Centenary!
FotoCeramic have recently produced a set of mugs for Botley W.I. members who are celebrating their centenary year, from artwork that sums up what their Women’s Institute represents. One of their members liaised with one of our colleagues to produce some ceramic decal transfers that would be applied to some blank mugs and fired; giving them a bespoke product for their members to have as a keepsake to celebrate their centenary.
Whenever people think of the W.I, the image of “Jam & Jerusalem” springs to mind. Go on, admit it! It has been the long-held stereotypical image of old dears and mass baking, meeting in dark and musty village halls across the land. If this initial thought isn’t the one, then a modern-day quirky image of ‘Calendar Girls’ and other eyebrow-raising exploits of newer-formed committees, tend to overlook the core values and achievements of a century old voluntary organization solely for women. The W.I. has 212,000 members across 6300 Women’s Institutes in the United Kingdom alone and on this evidence, it’s one that won’t disappear as more recent W. I’s are being established within city areas.
Whilst meeting venues may have changed in modern times, with some moving to meet within coffee shops as opposed to village halls or institute buildings, the values and ethos of the Women’s Institute remains the same- for women to make new friends, learn new skills and make a difference to matters which are just as important to them today as they were when the United Kingdom formed a new voluntary organization in September 1915, by a first meeting held in Llanfairpwll on Anglesey.
The Women’s Institute was first established to educate women in rural areas to encourage them to get involved in growing and preserving food to help maintain and increase the supply of food in a nation scourged by the pitfalls of the First World War. Whilst the men were away fighting at the Front, it fell to the women to “keep the home fires burning” and do their bit to support the country. Education and skills have always been at the heart of the organization and women can get involved in a large variety of activities. The election of committees in each branch gave women their first experiences of democracy and as a result of this, with the rise in the Suffrage movement, women gained valuable experience in raising issues and dealing with them to go on to represent their local areas on parish and district councils. Many campaigns have stemmed from social change and the need for women’s voices to be heard on matters that are important. Examples of these have included equal pay rights, housing, keeping Britain tidy and Fairtrade to name a few!
Since 2015, there has been a growing tide of Women’s Institutes around the country who are celebrating their centenary year and there will be a constant cycle of celebration for a good few years to come as each Institute reaches their century. If your W.I group is celebrating your centenary year and would like to mark the occasion with a bespoke mug that marks such a symbolic milestone, then please get in touch with the sales team at FotoCeramic. We would be delighted to assist with your requirements.