“Educate a boy and you educate a man. But educate a girl and you educate a family.” — Adelaide Hoodless (British Columbia Women’s Institute, 1892)
On today’s date in 1897, Adelaide Hoodless founded the Federation.
In 1993, Canada Post issued a postage stamp (Scott No. 1456), designed by artist Heather Cooper, featuring a head-and-shoulders portrait of Hoodless. Her name and the date “1857-1910” appear above the portrait, and to the left are the words “FAMILY EDUCATOR/EDUCATRICE FAMILIALE”.
Hoodless founded the Women’s Institute, whose motto was “For Home and Country”, on Feb. 19. One of its early aims was to promote milk pasteurization after Hoodless’ 18-month-old son died from drinking unpasteurized milk. In fact, her public life did not begin until she became a wife and a mother. Following her child’s death and blaming herself for her ignorance, she sought to raise the level of women’s education and help women in safeguarding their families.
A founder of the Victorian Order of Nurses, Hoodless spent her life dedicated to the welfare of others — especially women and their families. Her goal was to have all women educated in “domestic science”, and she pushed for schools to include this in the curriculum. By the turn of the century, Ontario schools were teaching domestic science with colleges following a few years later.
She also helped establish the Hamilton chapter of the YWCA, but her crowning achievement was creating the world’s first unified organization dedicated to improving women’s lives, and in turn, their families’. The Federation of Women’s Institutes of Canada was founded in Stoney Creek, Ont.
Hoodless was born on Feb. 27, 1857 in St. George, Ont. where she was raised on her family’s isolated farm in Canada West. She died in Toronto on Feb. 26, 1910 — a day before her 53rd birthday.