The Women’s Institute (WI) celebrated their 100th anniversary yesterday, and my, what a lot has changed over the century. The group, founded on the principle of bringing women together by excluding men, has revealed it now accepts men, as long as they identify as women.
Yesterday, the WI featured on a special episode of the chat show Lose Women to discuss their centenary and show the world how progressive they all are. The organisation is keen to shake off their stereotypical image, imagined as a stuffy old group conservative little Englanders making jam and quietly knitting, and so attract new members.
One of the WI members in the audience, Diana, of the Somersham group in the Huntington and Peterborough registry, said she had been a member of the organisation for two years.
Diana appeared, and sounded, visibly transgendered on the show, and when contacted by The Mirror, a spokesperson for the WI, Charlotte Fiander, said: “If someone has made the decision to live as a woman, they are always more than welcome to come and join the WI.”
Diana told the presenters that she had joined because, “I thought I could add more to the community by joining, and also find a new group of friends which I certainly have done. I myself try to assist younger members, when they want to start their own businesses and other business opportunities.
“I think it’s a great thing for the girls to take forward their ideas and make them into a profitable business.”
Adding: “We’re very very lucky we’ve got some lively girls there, and yes it’s a whole community.”
However, according to Reddit users in the Transgender discussion group, this information has been publicly available for some time. Two years, in fact, when Diana joined. The WI was e-mailed by a mystery transgendered person asking whether or not they could join. The WI replied:
“Any person who is living their life a women is very welcome to join the WI, and to participate in any WI activities in the same way as any other women.”
“Nice one!” replied Reddit user Grown and Out; “I’ve been told the WI are pretty progressive so I’m not surprised, but still pleased.”