The City of Fort St. John has declared February as Women’s Institute Month.
Several branches are currently active in the Peace Region; most notably Baldonnel, North Pine, and Cecil Lake.
“It was initiated as an acknowledgement of Adelaide,” said Baldonnel Secretary Laura Lee Life, noting that Feb. 19, 1897, marks the first meeting of the Canada-wide organization.
It happened in Stoney Creek, Ontario, and was spearheaded by pioneer Adelaide Hoodless. Hoodless was an educational reformer, famous for her social and political work.
Life began her membership with the Women’s Institute in the early 1980s, joining the Rose Prairie branch after a move from Vancouver. She was later invited to join the Baldonnel branch. The Women’s Institute was modelled after the Farmer’s Institute, with the aim being to improve the skills and knowledge of country women, says Life.
“The city’s kind enough to let these things happen. We’ve been doing the proclamation for at least a decade,” says Life, noting that the British Columbia Women’s Institute (BCWI) changed their declaration from a week to an entire month.
Each year the local branches make various donations, such as a scholarship for women attending Northern Lights College, the Associated Country Women of the World, WI Canada, and BCWI, as well as 4-H, the women's resource centre, and various schools.
Email reporter Tom Summer at firstname.lastname@example.org.