The CWA – Country Women’s Association of Victoria

7 Jun

Today’s #blogjune ramblings will be completely non library related.

Instead I’m going to talk about a new club I joined – the CWA. The Country Women’s Association is an international organization, although in some countries it is known as the Women’s Institute. This perhaps is a more indicative title, given that the branch I have joined is the Sydney Rd branch, a very inner city area in Brunswick, Vic.

The CWA is a longstanding Australian organization with a conservative image, recognized however for both offering practical  support to regional areas, and setting cake baking and jam making standards nationally. The Victorian website states “With over 5,600 members, 40 Groups and 320 branches throughout the State meeting either day or night, this progressive and vibrant Association aims “to improve conditions by community service more especially as they affect the welfare of women and children””.

Luckily for me, knitting and jan making skills are not a prerequisite. Although already I have produced a reasonable macrame rope, as the monthly meetings offer a range of talks, fund raising, dinners and craft classes. The upcoming State craft fair has 274 possible categories to enter; although my pottery only fits into one category:

Craft, other techniques

43. Natural resources, any type, not basketry

Before the basketry community jumps up in anger at such divisiveness, be assured basketry had two of it’s own standalone entry types.

The #cwavic engages the modern world through social media (despite one of it’s members initial confusion of Twitter with Tinder) and political lobbying. Their recent State Conference offered internal discussions on Resolutions such as the sale of Australian farming land to corporations, keeping membership capped and hence affordable for all women, domestic violence and road speed signage. Those Resolutions that were passed will have letters outlining members’ concerns drafted and sent to all branches, so that individual politicians can be contacted. Given the rarity of letter writing and snail mail these days, that could be influential. Indeed the media picked up the CWA endorsement for #marriageequality with a flurry:

The Age

SBS website – Sexuality

LOTL – Lesbians on the Loose

So if you are a woman who feels like a once a month catchup with other interesting women, doesn’t mind learning crafts and wants great cake at fundraisers – you should check out your local branch.

There is a rumor that long term membership of the CWA leads to an instinctual ability to create perfect scones … which I cannot yet confirm or deny.


2 Responses to “The CWA – Country Women’s Association of Victoria”

  1. snail June 7, 2016 at 11:55 am #

    I’ve been wondering for a while why you’d joined the CWA and they sound like an interesting bunch of women. I’m a wee bit envious.

    • Ruth Baxter June 8, 2016 at 10:46 am #

      I’m not sure why I did it either, perhaps to revisit what my life might have been like if I had stayed in the country? Anyway they are a great group of women and very different to my other current social networks.

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