Organizing Rural Women: The Federated Women's Institutes of Ontario, 1897-1919
Kechnie places the WI within the context of the country life movement emanating from the United States, arguing that Ontario farm women's attempts to organize should be viewed as part of the Department of Agriculture's efforts to revive the flagging fortunes of the Farmers' Institutes and encourage farm women to embrace "scientific home management" in order to modernize farm homes and discourage the depopulation of Ontario's farms. While many men and women within the farm community supported the government's attempts to encourage "book farming," many others resisted the state's educational initiatives and identified with the independent farm movement. In order to ensure the success of the WI the Ontario Department of Agriculture provided funds to hire organizers and the organization was encouraged to develop branches outside farming areas, even if this meant ignoring the needs of farm women. By the end of the World War I the WI had become one of the largest women's organizations in the province but was widely known not for its emphasis on scientific home management but for its community activism.
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activities Address Adelaide Hoodless Ambrose Annual Report areas argued Branch and District Brethour Canada Canadian claimed countryside Department of Agriculture discussion domestic science E.D. Smith economic F. I. Report fact Farm and Dairy farm community farm home Farmer’s Advocate Federated Women’s Institutes feminism Five Minute Reports FWIO George Putnam government-sponsored government’s health reform Hodson Home and Country ibid improve independent farm movement Insti Institutes of Ontario interest Kechnie Laura Rose leaders lecturers living male farmers McIntyre Hood medical inspection membership milk modern mother Ontario Agricultural Ontario Agricultural College Ontario Department Ontario farm women organization’s organizing farm Patrons of Industry problems province Public Health journal role rural Ontario rural women scientific homemaking small towns social speakers Stoney Creek Stoney Creek Women’s suggest superintendent tion Toronto twentieth century urban WI branches WI’s wives Wl’s woman women’s groups women’s movement women’s organization