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!

The Princess Royal will view a century of Scottish handcrafts in SWI exhibition

A celebration of creative arts and crafts made by Scottish women in the past 100 years will receive the royal seal of approval when The Princess Royal visits the Scottish Women’s Institute’s centenary exhibition in Edinburgh next week.

Princess Anne will gain an insight into the gifts and talents of members of one of Scotland’s largest educational organisations for women during a tour of the exhibition on Wednesday April 12.

Save Scottish Crafts Campaign

Lorraine says:  “I’m very happy to support the ‘Save Scottish Crafts Campaign’. I learned knitting at school and find it therapeutic and a real stress buster!”

Whilst handcrafts are no longer taught in schools and anecdotal evidence suggesting some people cannot tackle basic tasks like sewing a button onto a garment, the SWI fears that handcraft skills could be in danger of dying out.

Yet there is an appetite among women to take up handcrafts: an SWI survey carried out two years ago showed dressmaking, knitting and crochet in the top 10 skills women in Scotland would like to learn. The poll included cooking and arts and crafts among the top skills women would like to develop, other areas in which the SWI is renowned for.

Youtube link to film of Judy Murray and Martel Maxwell knitting:



Scottish Dogs Discriminated Against for Colour of their Fur to be Helped by Coats of Many Colours

Dozens of homeless dogs in Scottish rescue centres are being discriminated against because of the colour of their fur - but now an army of knitters from The Scottish Women’s Institutes has stepped in to help the pooches find their forever homes by creating colourful woollen overcoats.

Black Dog Syndrome results in dark-coated dogs being overlooked by potential new owners in favour of those that are lighter-coloured. It means that dogs with black or dark fur tend to remain in the care of The Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Scottish SPCA) for longer periods of time.

After learning about the discrimination being faced by the homeless hounds, SWI approached fellow charity the Scottish SPCA offering their members’ services to knit ‘coats of many colours.’ It is hoped the technicoloured coats – created as part of the celebrations to mark 100 years of the SWI – will make dark-coloured dogs more attractive to potential re-homers.

Read more >

Colourful Dogs Courtesy of the SWI

SWI national chairman Christine Hutton says, “We are encouraging our members to pick up their knitting needles and help a homeless hound. It’s a mission to help end Black Dog Syndrome, a phenomenon whereby potential new owners overlook black dogs in favour of their lighter-coated counterparts. 

“Some of Scotland’s top craftswomen are making multi-coloured dog coats in aid of homeless pets desperately seeking loving new homes – to boost their appeal and help them become rehomed more quickly.

“It’s sad to think of black dogs being less appealing simply because of the colour of their coat, but we hope that our knitters will be able to kit them out in coats of many colours and improve the chances of them being rehomed more quickly.”




NEW! The SWI Cookbook is jam packed with recipes guaranteed to fulfil all tastes!


From simple starters and scrumptious soups through to mouth-watering main courses and delightful deserts, the cookbook has been created by members, professional chefs and celebrity chefs including:

  • Neil Forbes
  • Lady Claire Macdonald OBE
  • Nick Nairn
  • Tony Singh

Indulge in a mix of traditional and contemporary dishes and try out new meals for you and your family and friends.

The perfect gift to yourself, or to your friends and family! 

Breast Cancer Now, TLC Campaign - touch, look, check

SWI joins forces with breast cancer charity to save lives

Scottish Women's Institutes is partnering with Scotland’s leading breast cancer charity in a determined effort to improve early detection of breast cancer. In this, our centenary year, we are championing measures that can help stop women dying from the disease.
Statistics show that less than half of all women in Scotland check their breasts regularly and anecdotal evidence tells us that there are women who feel intimidated about attending screening clinics. Yet these are simple actions that can save lives as they can help find cancer at an early stage when treatment is most likely to be successful.

Promoting screening attendance and self-checks is at the heart of our year-long campaign being run in association with Breast Cancer Now Scotland.

Click here for full article>
Click here for breast check guide>

Has cancer touched your life? Throughout 2017, and our campaign in partnership with Breast Cancer Now, we will be looking to find real life stories of how people have been impacted by the disease. Share your story with us at magazine@theswi.org.uk


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


  • Celebrity recipes from centenary cookbook
  • SWI knitters praised for helping tiny tots at premature baby units
  • Win – luxury beauty products
  • Members pet portraits
  • Scottish SPCA inspector’s life with animals
  • Institute of the month, letters, reader panel, book reviews, puzzles 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 Special buy 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 for the Vegetable Loaf is available for downloading in the members area

Window Box Competition
The entry form and competition rules are available to download from the member’s area

The SWI Centenary Exhibition of Arts and Crafts 2017

We are 100 years young thisyear 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

Entry fee is £5, tickets must be purchased in advance from HQ.


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 £40 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 the test 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.

The posts 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 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