United Farm Women of Alberta, Annual Report
The answer given by local organizations to the question,
"What are the chief difficulties you find in carrying on the
work successfully?" was "babies". One club reports that half
their membership have babies under three years old, while
the secretary herself has two under that age. . . . And that
brings us face to face with a problem that perplexes every
conscientious, but intelligent and public-spirited mother.
It is your problem and mine—namely, under what conditions
are we justified in confining our attention to our homes to
the exclusion of all matters of public interest . . .
Mrs. Rogers, Past president of Alberta Women's
Institute, personal interview, 1974.
Well, the need was mainly isolation—a place to get
together, a place where you could meet people—that had the
same interests as you had. You must remember that when the
Institute started, out here, the people were scattered. Many
of them wouldn't see anybody for a week—or longer—and some
of them just couldn't take it. That's why so many of them
ended up in Ponoka [mental hospital]—just the loneliness. If
they had children, it wasn't so bad, but if anybody went to
town father went to town. . . . On the other hand, the
Institute would never have got very far if it hadn't been
for the cooperation of the men . . . We have pictures of a
wagon full of women, all gathered up and being brought
in—and it was no "hour meeting"—it was an afternoon. And,
you brought the children . . . somebody would take them
outside or in another room and entertain them. So, the
youngsters liked it too. You might have a Ukrainian here.
You might have a Scandinavian here. You might have an
American over there-and you didn't have much in common—and
the thing was to get a common ground. But of course if they
had children—that was a common ground—the care and feeding
of children. That was the original start of the Institute.
Reprinted by permission of