There’s nothing like a bit of good old-fashioned democracy to kick off the year, and our January meeting heralded the first vote on the National Federation resolutions.
Each year the entire membership of the WI votes for one or two campaigns that we’ll be throwing our weight behind, and the Swallowtails have a dedicated expert from our group to keep us informed. Swallowtail Jenny liaises with the Norfolk Federation to get all the information we need to know before we vote, and then the first round sees us got to the polls to select our favourite out of five suggested resolutions.
It’s always fascinating to see what issues and causes are put to our vote. This year’s choices were no exception. Here’s a rundown of the five resolutions we could choose from:
1. Positive body image in a digital age
This meeting urges every WI and the NFWI to campaign to ensure that government and the media industry promote healthy body images and ensure diversity is represented in the media.
2. Stop female genital mutilation
Almost 200,000 women and girls in England and Wales are affected by or threatened with the risk of female genital mutilation (FGM). This figure rises to 200 million worldwide. FGM is illegal in the UK, but it is still happening. We urge the NFWI to use its collective voice and influence to raise wider awareness of the traumatic health consequences of FGM and support and partner with agencies that are working to end this practice in the UK and worldwide.
3. Raising awareness of modern slavery in the UK
Modern slavery affects thousands of people in the UK every year, and leaves them facing servitude, forced or compulsory labour, sexual exploitation and human trafficking. This meeting calls on every WI and the NFWI to raise awareness of this important issue and to lobby for more effective support for the physical and psychological health of victims of this crime.
4. Mental health matters
Mental health matters as much as physical health. The NFWI urges all WI members to recognise the importance of parity between mental health and physical health and take action to make it as acceptable to talk about mental health issues as much as physical health issues, and to lobby government for better support for mental illness.
5. Healthier Mouth, Healthier Body
Health research suggests that there is a link between gum health and serious illnesses such as heart disease, stroke and even dementia. The NFWI calls upon the government to raise awareness about the importance of oral health and the impact that it can have in preventing life-changing acute and chronic health conditions.
From here, the votes are counted, and we’ll discover which resolutions will be taken forward. With such a diverse selection to choose from we look forward to finding out where the WI will be focusing our energies.
Following our resolutions talk, it was down to some cake and crafting as we made green hearts to form part of the Norfolk Federation display to raise awareness for climate change. We’re proud to be part of a group of women nationwide who care passionately about causes and try to do good. These aspect of the WI, combined with all the fun and friendship we experience is what makes our Swallowtail group so special.
Christmas was a marvellous affair for the Swallowtails, as we combined our festive social with some fun-filled activities.
It’s become a tradition in our WI to make festive wreaths at the December meeting, with our members bringing gorgeous greenery, flowers and trinkets to adorn their Christmassy creations. Led by president Claire, who is the undisputed queen of wreaths, our girls got busy, and soon the air was filled with ‘ooohs’ and ‘ahhhs’ of approval as the decorations took shape.
Another tradition we’ve kept each year is that of laying on a magnificent spread at the December social. As usual, our incredible members arrived laden with culinary treats and the tasty dishes went down a storm with the hungry crowd. What’s lovely about our December social is that there’s always such a great range of food provided. From the traditional mince pies and Christmas cakes to delicious cheese scones, scrummy biscuits, vol-au-vents and more besides, no-one goes home hungry.
For those Swallowtails who didn’t want to make wreaths, we laid on a games evening which proved to be a great laugh. We began with a madcap version of pass the parcel devised by games extraordinaire, Szara which saw us asked to don ridiculous gloves and a silly hat when it was our turn to unwrap. It was hard to follow that, but we dug out the Family Fortunes, and Sophie channelled her inner Les Dennis to be the quiz master. The teams were ultra-competitive, and some of the answers had us in stitches. Mind you, it hardly seemed to matter who won in the end, as we'd all thoroughly enjoyed the game.
Spending an evening creating, socialising and laughing with our Swallowtail friends was the perfect way to celebrate the festive season WI-style. Now, we just have to plan all the fun we’ll be having in 2018.
Get the inside scoop on the life of a WI member.