History of the PEIWI
An excerpt from one history book cited, "In April of 1911, in York, Prince Edward Island, seventeen women met at the Hall, and from this gathering as well as groups of other like-minded women in other communities became the onset to what would become the branches of PEI Women's Institute."
Taking notice, the Prince Edward Island Department of Agriculture took some initiatives to assist the women of PEI in organizing themselves to aid in improving agriculture and education on PEI. As a result the Federated Women's Institute of Prince Edward Island was formed and is legally bound by legislation of Women's Institute Act under the Department of Agriculture.
For a century Prince Edward Island Women's Institutes have, through this organization, educated themselves and their communities. In the process, the PEIWI through fun, fellowship and leadership have made some major contributions to the Island, and continues to so today. Several history books have marked the accomplishments of over 300 branches that were established across PEI and together they have made significant accomplishments for the province of Prince Edward Island. Presently, there are approximately 100 branches still making a difference in their communities and on the Island.
The Women's Institute organization in Canada had been founded earlier under the leadership of Adelaine Hunter Hoodless, a Hamilton, Ontario women whose youngest son died in 1889 after drinking impure milk. Adelaide Hoodless made it her mission to encourage rural women to raise their standards of sanitation, nutrition and care of the family by educating them to be better homemakers. She also became a key player in the founding of the National Council of Women in 1983. This organization led to an invitation at a Farmer's Institute meeting resulting in the first Women's Institute forming in February 19, 1897.
History of the Federated Women's Institute of Canada (FWIC)
The idea to form a national group was first considered in 1912. In 1914, however, when the war began the idea was abandoned. At the war's end, it was Miss Mary MacIssac, Superintendent of Alberta Women's Institute, who revived the idea. She realized the importance of organizing the rural women of Canada so they might speak as one voice for needed reforms, and the value of co-ordinating provincial groups for a more consistent organization. In February 1919, representatives of the provinces met in Winnipeg, Manitoba, to form the Federated Women's Institutes of Canada.