Associated Country Women of the World

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Beginning in the late nineteenth century rural farmwomen throughout the world started establishing their own groups and clubs. In 1929 rural British women, led by Lady Aberdeen from Scotland, and representatives from twenty-four countries gathered in London to form the first International Conference of Rural Women. The following year a larger conference in Vienna, Austria, formed a "Liaison Committee" of rural women's organizations, which became the Association of County Women of the World (ACWW) in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1933.

Washington, D. C., hosted the next triennial meeting of the ACWW in 1936. More than 7000 Americans from forty-three states and 150 delegates from twenty-three countries on four continents also attended. North Carolina sent 680 rural women. This was the second highest state total, and only Virginia sent more.

Conference activities included a tea on the White House lawn hosted by Eleanor Roosevelt and Sunday afternoon church services at the partially completed National Cathedral. The official delegates from each state led discussions on various issues important to rural women, including women's markets, rural electrification, and health.

The following ACWW triennial conference was held in London in 1939. Only seven rural North Carolina women and ten members of the state Home Demonstration staff made the trip aboard the Queen Mary. Generally a lack of funds and pressing family duties kept most rural North Carolina women from attending, though some clubs and county offices raised money to help defray the costs. In total two hundred and forty-seven rural American women and extension workers attended the opening ceremonies in Westminster, a reception given by His Majesty's Government, and various lectures and programs.

Also in 1939, U.S. groups affiliated with ACWW established a coordinating council, the United States Liaison Committee, which was renamed the Country Women's Council (CWC) in 1946. The CWC continues to meet annually to promote the work of the ACWW in the United States.

Readers may also be interested in our essays on the history of Home Demonstration in North Carolina and Demonstration work.

Sources

Associated Country Women of the World.

Country Women's Council, USA.

McKimmon, Jane Simpson. When We're Green We Grow. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1945.

National Volunteer Outreach Network, Inc.

North Carolina State University, North Carolina Extension and Community Association. "Extension & Community Association."

[author: Amy Manor]

Woman pouring water in a wash tub, preparing to do laundry Hazel Carris of Pitt County at her 4-H exhibit, "Drink Your Way to Health" L. R. Harrill and others launching the U.S.S. Tyrrell on July 10th, 1944 in Wilmington, N.C. L. R. Harrill revealing the plaque placed on an ambulance donated to the United States Army Medical Department in honor of former 4-H club members now serving in the armed forces
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