Ottery WI invited onto global stage

Women's Institute

Women's Institute - Credit: Archant

The women from Ottery’s WI have been invited to a prestigious worldwide conference in India to make a resolution on female genital mutilation.

Only a dozen other groups from across the globe have been asked to attend the event in September, and comes on the back of 18 months of lobbying.

The feat is all the more impressive given the town’s women’s institute has only 31 members, and they are now all busy trying to raise funds so its delegate can travel to Chennai and deliver the resolution.

Sue McCarthy, Ottery WI’s treasurer and representative at the conference, is herself a retired nurse having worked in places as diverse as Yemen and more recently in Pakistan, and has had to deal with the effects of female genital mutilation first hand.

She said the subject is an important one, with the practises affecting over 5,000 women a year in the UK alone, and the institute is hoping their resolution will be carried so that action can be taken forward worldwide.

It is an issue close to the hearts of Ottery WI members, who were also visited by Anne-Marie Wilson this week.

She heads up an anti-female genital mutilation organisation called ‘28too many’, and has spoken at the UN and other prestigious organisations around the world.

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But Sue will be speaking on behalf of the institute at the Triennial Conference of the International Association of Country Women of the World (ACWW), along with delegates from New Zealand, Canada, Norway and USA.

She said with such a small membership fund-raising for the trip to India has been hard and hectic, but a successful quiz and cream tea event last week has helped them towards their goal.

The WI will also be at the Ottery St Mary Food Festival on June 1 with a cake stall, and would welcome any donation to help its delegate with the opportunity to raise this important female health issue at such an important world-wide forum.

For more information or to donate contact Anitra Lockwood on 01404-812317 or at, or visit