Country Women’s Association in NSW is attracting a new generation of recruits


Posted

October 07, 2018 08:29:00

While unions and service clubs are battling falling membership numbers, there’s one group that’s bucking the trend.

For more than a decade, membership rates for the New South Wales Country Women’s Association [CWA] have fallen by 300 people each year, but this year membership is up by 50.

Founded in 1922, the organisation is known for its bake sales and knitting, but members say a shift to night-time meetings and plans for virtual branches are attracting a new generation of young women.

Around 20 evening branches have opened across the state in the last year to cater for the growing number of working women and students wanting to attend meetings.

Madison Bronte, 23, is one of the founding members of a new evening branch in Mascot in Sydney’s inner suburbs.

She said one of the reasons she was attracted to the organisation was because of its social issues committee.

“One thing that they were really big on impacting was the lifting of the tampon tax recently, which is so important for women,” she said.

“We get to do a whole range of things, it’s not just cooking and knitting, it’s helping all women.”

Lauren Wild, 39, works in the banking industry and recently joined the CWA’s evening branch in Lismore because of its night-time meetings.

“I like the idea of women supporting women, being involved in their community, helping out, everything that the CWA stands for with their values and their morals,” Ms Wild said.

“It’s been really wonderful seeing the emergence of the evening branches which is designed for ladies who work or have family commitments or study but can’t make the traditional day branch meetings.”

The NSW CWA President Annette Turner said the organisation also planned to open an online branch, which would help connect members from the bush and the city.

“For a virtual meeting it will be an hour and that’s something people can fit into their lives, it’s giving them the contact and it’s also giving them a voice,” she said.

While country members remained the life-blood of the organisation, they said the new generation would make the organisation stronger.

Despite the organisation turning 96 this year, Ms Bronte said it showed no signs of slowing down.

“I’ve seen even my friends, people that I’ve spoken to, friends of friends have started joining, so it’s just a trickle effect of younger people wanting to get involved,” she said.

Topics:

rural,

community-and-society,

rural-women,

women-in-agriculture,

lismore-2480,

nsw



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