Welcome to the Scottish Women’s Institutes. Scotland’s leading member based organisation created by women in 1917, designed to bring women together, with a vision to welcome every woman in Scotland to join us.

We are here to educate, to share, to campaign, to learn, to socialise, to build a community and of course, to have fun.

From life skills and arts and crafts to raising awareness of current affairs affecting women and helping inform government issues, the SWI is proud of its heritage and our future vision.

Be part of the SWI. Join us to learn how to make that perfect scone… and a bit more too!


2017 Diary Available Now

After many requests headquarters has ordered a new batch of diaries. 

The cost per diary is £3.5 + postage.

Order yours today, you can pay via check or via phone.





Subscribe to the SWI monthly magazine for only £1.50 per issue
Like to receive your copy? Call us on 0131 225 1724 or email to find out more and to be added to our subscription list.
Click here to subscribe >

  • Keep up to date with all latest SWI news from around the country
  • Never miss an issue!

Learn about events, competitions, interesting features, Federation and Institute updates, Headquarter news plus browse our images showcasing monthly activities.

In this month's magazine

- Save Our Stitches – SWI campaigns to keep traditional skills alive

- Nicola Sturgeon says SWI can help Scottish women fulfil potential

- Haggis recipes to celebrate Burns’ Night – traditional or with a twist

- Fitness expert shares seated exercise tips perfect to keep older people active

- Win! Stay at Shieldhill Castle

- Workout DVDs put through their paces

- Plus best new reads, puzzles, letters, members news and more

Plus all your regular favourites – Institute of the Month, letters, round up from across the SWI, book reviews and more

We welcome all members to contribute with their own images, articles and news. Simply email magazine@theswi.org.uk.

Advertise in Women Together

Reach around 17,000 women throughout Scotland by advertising in  Women Together, the monthly magazine of the SWI.
Reasonable rates and special discounts.

Why Advertise?
The SWI has around 17,000 members throughout Scotland. Most are 50+, often with rural backgrounds and interests. However, an increasing number of younger, urban based women, are now joining the organisation.

To reflect the needs of a new, younger readership, the magazine has recently been relaunched in a new A4 format with features on Beauty, Fashion, Food and Drink and Women’s Issues, as well as national updates and news from groups around the country.
Our advertising rates have been frozen at A5 prices until May 2016. So, you get twice the size for the same price!

Contact magazine@theswi.org.uk for further information and a complimentary copy of the magazine.

Full page £347; half page £174; quarter page £100; eighth page £65 (not inc VAT).
If you are an SWI member or a registered charity you receive 20% discount.
Reduced rates for serial ads and a free editorial with 3 consecutive ads.

Women Together Wants Your Features!

We welcome contributions from external writers.

We’re looking for features on a wide range of subjects including crafts, food and drink, women’s issues, travel, health, lifestyle and general interest. If you can supply high resolution, good quality photographs as well that would be a bonus! Length should be between 600 and 1200 words – and currently we’re particularly looking for longer articles. Fee negotiable.

Please send all copy to The Editor, magazine@theswi.org.uk, or SWI, 42 Heriot Row, Edinburgh EH3 6ES. Copy deadlines are the 26th of each month, eg 26 January for the March issue (out end of February).


Material submitted should be original. Although great care is taken with everything submitted, Women Together is not responsible for any loss or damage which may occur.

The Best Shortbread in Scotland

It’s official! Heather Lithgow from Berwickshire makes the best shortbread in Scotland, and her secret is to use plenty of deliciously creamy Scottish butter.
After searching the country for the tastiest shortbread recipe, Aldi and the Scottish Women's Institutes crowned 80 year old Heather, of Abbey St Bathans SWI, as the winner. You can taste her scrumptious shortbread for yourself later this year when it’s turned into an Aldi Specialbuy for Hogmanay.
Or try making it yourself - Heather’s winning recipe is soon to be shown in Aldi’s Taste Kitchen. You can read all about Heather’s achievement, and find her winning recipe, in the October edition of Women Together magazine.

You can also watch the video here: Scrumptious Shortbread>


Gardening Scotland 2017 Competition

Friday 2nd - Sunday 4th June

Federation Competition: One entry per federation to be brought to Central Council meetings in May. Small jar (approx. 1/2 lb) 3 Fruit Marmalade.

Individual Competition: To be brought to Gardening Scotland on Thursday 1st June 2017. 1lb Vegetable loaf - sweet or savoury eg: Carrot/courgette/beetroot etc.

Entry forms have been sent to the Federation Secretaries and the entry form is available for downloading in the members area.

Give a Hand and Bake 24th-30th Octobe

We’re looking for enthusiastic cake lovers from all over the UK to host a bake sale during Give a Hand Week (24-30 October)
to raise some serious dough to help stroke survivors. Will you join us?
Roll up your sleeves, grab your mixing bowl and get ready to bake a difference!
Whether you rule the kitchen with an iron whisk or don’t know one end of a wooden spoon from the other – anyone can host a bake sale,
have fun and bake a difference for stroke survivors.
All you need is a generous dollop of enthusiasm and a hungry group of friends, family or workmates.
To receive your free fundraising pack filled with recipes, tasty fundraising tips and everything you’ll
need to make your bake sale a sweet success

For your free pack sign up online at: stroke.org.uk/bake

Big Knitathon 2016

Cast on to keep homeless cosy this Christmas
For the second year in a row, Scottish Women’s Institutes are being encouraged to use their time and their talents to craft some winter woollies for the Big Issue’s Big Knitathon campaign.
The SWI has been chosen as a lead partner in the 2016 Scottish campaign and members up and down the country are being asked to start knitting hats, scarves, socks and gloves, or squares for blankets as well as being encouraged to share their knowledge and know-how with others.

Last year many members and Institutes produced some great items of knitting to donate to the cause.  With a longer lead in time, it’s hoped that there will be an even bigger response this year, with members knitting at home, at their gatherings, or encouraging others to get involved through tutorials and drop-ins. Your knitted hats, scarves, and fingerless gloves will protect vendors from the chilling Scottish winds and provide some extra warmth during the coldest months of the year.

Members are asked to knit garments between now and the end of November which can be given to Big Issue vendors or sold to raise funds, all of which will benefit homeless people in Scotland.

Not only will the SWI’s efforts help keep Big Issue vendors on the street warm and working, but it will raise awareness of the work of the Big Issue Foundation says Stephen Robertson, CEO of The Big Issue Foundation.
He added “The Big Knitathon is a great way to bring communities together to raise vital funds for The Big Issue Foundation. Knitting might not seem like the obvious solution to tackling the problem of homelessness, but the funds raised will help some of society’s most vulnerable people take those all-important first steps to changing their lives.”

For details to get you started, you can request a Big Knitathon Information Pack, which includes all you need to know about how to make your event a success. You can register to hold an event at www.bigissue.org.uk/Knitathon


The SWI Centenary Exhibition of Arts and Crafts 2017

We are 100 years young next year and as part of our centenary year we will be hosting The SWI Centenary Exhibition of Arts and Crafts.
This will take place Wednesday 5th April to Tuesday 18th April 2017 inclusive.
Opening Times 10am - 4.30pm every day.

The Royal Scots Club, 29 Abercromby Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6QE and SWI Headquarters at 42 Heriot Row, Edinburgh, EH3 6ES

Futher details on prices etc. will be issued in due course.

KnitFest - Special Offers for SWI Members

Offer 1:
50% Discount on registration for SWI members
Enter discount code "SWIKnits" on website registration page at www.lochnessknitfest.com

Offer 2,
Special SWI KnitFest package includes

  • Event registration
  • A workshop of your choice
  • A presentation of your choice: £99 (discounted from £130)

This package is available by emailing alan@visitiln.com or by calling Visit Inverness Loch Ness on 01463 219219



The SWI Online Members Area is now ready for you.

If you are already a member and registered to the website, simply login using your unique username and password. Or if you are a SWI member, but not registered to the website as yet, you can do that just now, it only takes a few minutes. Register here >

The Members Area is here to add content to and we encourage our members to contribute. Simply submit to hello@theswi.org.uk 




Why Join? Well, why not?

  • Be part of a nationwide group of women all with the same vision and passion for sharing and learning skills
  • Learn a new craft or skill in a sociable and welcoming environment local to you
  • Meet women with similar interests on a regular basis
  • Take part in social events and arts and craft competitions
  • Campaign on issues that matter to you and your community 



Only £30 one off initial fee for all new members who join online. And you will receive a free copy of our magazine each month*


Every week, every month and every year, we have a wide range of exciting events and activites that take place throughout Scotland.
These can be arranged at National level, Federation level or locally at Institute level.

View our Events Diary for a list of our forthcoming events >

Also keep up-to-date on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter !

Find Your Local Institute

We would love to welcome new members to any of our institutes so you can come along, enjoy the atmosphere, discover more about what we do, then select the institute that suits you best. You can join an institute for a small fee (approx £20-£35) per year and enjoy all the benefits of being a member.


Looking for National Judges

Scottish Women's Institutes: National Judges 2017-20


SWI has a programme of Proficiency Tests available to members.   The organisation is looking to appoint National Judges – for Handcrafts, Housewives, Floral Art, Art, Photography and Calligraphy – who will judge the work submitted according to thetest schedules.


The successful candidates will have a sound knowledge of the variety of subjects on offer and will undertake to mark the entered work to the standard set by SWI.   The appointed judges will be required to give constructive criticism, both in writing and verbally, to the test entrants.


Theposts are on a fixed term of three years and involve two weeks work per year – one in the Spring and one in the Autumn – travelling to one particular area of Scotland each time.   A set fee and expenses are paid.   Previous post holders may apply.


An application form and further details are available from the General Secretary at SWI Headquarters, 42 Heriot Row, Edinburgh, EH3 6ES, tel 0131 225 1724, fax0131 225 8129, e-mail gensec@theswi.org.uk


Completed application forms should be submitted by  Monday 27th February 2017


The National Judges need not be SWI members.   If you know of anyone who may be interested, please pass on the above information.





Would you like to take part in a documentary. Or just help with our research?  MacTV is specifically seeking Gaelic speakers for an hour-long BBC Alba 'special' celebrating 100-years of the Scottish Women's Institute.  


Whatever your story we would love to hear from you (husbands too).  Maybe you have colourful memories of your local institute or special family SWI connections? Has the SWI changed your life for the better? Let us know your stories. Maybe you have old film or photographs showing the good old days. Or a centenary projects that you may be planning for 2017.  


All stories will be treated as confidential and, don't worry, contacting is not a commitment to film. But it might help lead us to others less camera shy so please don't let the word television put you off.  


Please contact Elly Welch, MacTV.  01851 705638/ elly@mactv.co.uk  / ellymactv@gmail.com