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 SWI shop has some fabulous new additions to our range of merchandise.

The SWI Drawstring bags are available in red or blue.  The bags are lightweight and durable, a great way to carry everyday essentials.  The bags retail at £3.60 and can be purchased from our online shop or by calling Headquarters on 0131 225 1724.

The SWI Sports caps are available in red, white or blue, they are 100% cotton with an embroidered SWI logo.  They can also be bought for £8.40 from our online shop or from Headquarters on 0131 225 1724

Other recent additions to the shop include an SWI bone china mug, water bottle and resusable/travel mug. 




Welcome to the new-look Women Together magazine It's full of insider news, great features and useful tips – and the lovely Kirsty Wark opened up her home to talk books, baking and Brexit.

If you don't currently receive the magazine but would like to order  your copy for £2 plus P&P or subscribe to keep up to date with SWI news and enjoy reading a variety of features please contact us on 0131 225 1724 or email: subscriptions@theswi.org.uk

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

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



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.

SWI Board of Trustees & Committee Application Forms

Application forms for the SWI Board of Trustees and Comittees positions have been sent to Federation Secretaries.   The forms can also be downloaded from the Members' Area of the website. 

H&H Conference - 10-12 September 2019

The H&H Conference will take place at the Beach Ballroom Aberdeen, The Theme is ‘Stepping Out’

Important – Please note this information and registration forms for Federation Representatives and Visiting Members have been sent to all Federation Secretaries – please contact your Federation for more information.  Information can also be downloaded from the Event & Information section of the website.

Exhibition - The dates for the Exhibition are the afternoon of Tuesday 10th September 2019  2 – 5pm and all day Wednesday11th  September – 9 – 5pm.

Conference - The conference itself will be held on the Wednesday 11th and Thursday 12th September. The Conference will be opened on Wednesday 11th September by Mr Barney Crockett, the Lord Provost of Aberdeen.  


  • Gillian Paterson – Designer & maker of historic costumes & Story Teller
  • Louise Blanchfield - Nutritional Therapist
  • Jim Hume – ‘Support in Mind’ – Scotland’s National Rural Health Forum
  • “Hats by Marjory”–‘My Journey So Far’ – Marjory Tennant, Selkirkshire Federation.  
  • Thursday – Helen McCook, Royal School of Needlework
  • Deborah Leslie – Author, Prize-winning Doric Writer & After Dinner Speaker

It would be greatly appreciated, if you are able to steward for the exhibition or the Conference the forms are available to download in the Event & Information section.

Or contact the H&H Secretary: hand.house@theswi.org.uk or 0131 225 1724


“A new chapter in our organisation’s history has begun”

 Working together

 After many months of discussion, the Central Council has voted to accept a new Constitution for SWI. So a new chapter in our organisation’s history has begun,
with an evolution that is necessary for a modern-day charity. Of course, any change in life takes time to adapt to, and this will be no exception, but with patience and understanding we will all soon become familiar with the new document.

So what’s changed for Institutes? Well, not so much. They can now be run less formally – as long a Treasurer accounts for money and someone notes decisions; everyone has to complete a simple form to confirm membership (so we comply with charity regulator rules), and there’s a new Junior membership for under 16s.

The biggest change is in Central Council. Until now, 55 trustees made up our governing body but this will be replaced by a new board of trustees. Members, when elected, will be responsible for ensuring the success of the organisation, and will represent members and their views, and act upon them providing they further the charity’s vision. It is envisaged that we will get a good mix of skill sets within the board who will lend their professionalism and expertise, and work efficiently as a team.

Three of the board will be National Office Bearers, where there is also a change. The Junior Vice Chairman role has gone and the Chairman and Senior Vice Chairman will now be known as President and Vice President, while the Honorary Treasurer’s title remains. Any member of SWI will be able to apply for the any position on the Board – National Office Bearer roles. National Committee Member positions will be filled on an area basis and, again, are open to all to apply.  

I hope members who have an interest in the workings of our Standing Committees will come forward and give their expertise in their chosen area as this will make for much more efficient decision making and bring forward new ideas which hopefully will encourage a new audience to Scottish Women’s Institutes.

Sometimes we concentrate too much on negatives when there are many positive things happening within our much-loved organisation. We have had a great deal of interest in what we do at various events and many groups are trying new things. Within Institutes, book groups and craft groups are still very popular as is our Young Dippers initiative. We have also been in touch with Netball Scotland to discuss instigating a new sport for the organisation – Walking Netball. Keep a look out
in the magazine for further details as we have them.

The last meetings of our Executive Committee and Central Council will have now taken place – please do not look on this as the end, but the beginning of an exciting new chapter and one that will bring a bright and happy future.

Linda Retson President


Meet Your Office Bearers

The Office Bearers were appointed in May 2017.

Linda Retson National President

Anne Kerr  Vice President

Anne Howat Junior Vice Chairman

Molly Sangster Honorary National Treasurer



SWI Policy Statements

The SWI has produced the following policy statements:

Portion Food Sizes

Reduction in Sugar Content

Use of Plastics

Feed the Mind




The SWI member area is where members can find information from committees, including minutes from meetings, event and competition information and booking forms, member offers, Federation news etc.

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 £45 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.