Desbarats Women’s Institute
The focus of the organization has changed many times over the past 100 years in direct response to the needs of the local community, their country and the world. Today the Women’s Institute look upon the organization as an opportunity for women to get involved in educational pursuits, political activism, personal growth and social gathering-leading to the well-being of their community and their country.
The Women’s Institute was first established February 19, 1897. This has grown to almost 600 not-for-profit branches throughout Ontario. Initially the group focused on cooking, sewing,quilting and canning as well as general improvements of through specific education. With the onset of World War I, the organization directed its efforts to fundraising, knitting socks and contributions of much needed supplies for our soldiers overseas in cooperation with the Canadian Red Cross.
Did you know that many things taken or granted today are the results of lobbying done by the Women’s Institutes?
- pasteurization of milk
- painting of white lines on provincial highways
- music as part of the school curriculum
- mandatory stopping for school buses with flashing lights
- signs at railroad crossings
- clear markings on poison containers
- funding of shelters for battered women
- the establishment of Brock University
- the formation of the MacDonald Institute at the University of Guelph