Reflecting on impact of the Relief Society on International Women’s Day

Mar 8, 2023, 9:00 PM | Updated: Mar 9, 2023, 2:51 pm

Wednesday was International Women's Day. A day meant to highlight the significant impact women have...

FILE: On International Women's Day, Sister Anette Dennis joined Inside Sources to discuss the impact the Relief Society has had on society over the years. (AP Photo/ Rick Bowmer, File)

(AP Photo/ Rick Bowmer, File)

SALT LAKE CITY — Wednesday was International Women’s Day. A day meant to highlight the significant impact women have had in society over the course of time. The Relief Society is one of the largest and oldest women’s organizations in the world.

Sister Anette Dennis, first counselor in the general Relief Society presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, joined Inside Sources with Boyd Matheson on Wednesday. She discussed how the Relief Society organization has been helping people around the world.

Sister Anette Davis, first counselor in the general Relief Society presidency. Photo credit: Deseret News.

Matheson asked, “What is it that you have seen in terms of the impact women as you’ve been able to experience that?”

Dennis acknowledges that the organization will celebrate its 181st anniversary on March 17.

“And the impact and influence of women throughout those 181 years has been just enormous,” she said. 

Dennis says the motto of the Relief Society is Charity never faileth, which was established in 1918.

“And so much has been done since then to carry on that purpose of providing relief,” Dennis said. 

Relief Society helping others

Dennis goes on to mention some of the things the organization has done over the years to severe others. In the early 1900s, the organization sponsored a program to train nurses to assist with public health. It also set up maternity homes and maternity closets to help with childbirth.

She says with the help of the women of the church, the infant death mortality rate and the maternal death rate were reduced significantly.

During World War II, she says the organization trained thousands of women to become social service aides. She says that was the foundation for the Family Services that the church has today.

In the late 1800s, the organization was played a key role in the women’s suffrage movement. Subsequently, Utah became the third state in the country to extend political equality to women.

“Women of the Relief Society have an enormous impact and influence over these past 181 years,” she said.

Matheson asked, “What is it about belonging to to the Relief Society?”

“Our hope is that our women feel that they are part of a world-wide sisterhood,” Dennis said. “That’s a force for good throughout the world.”

Inside Sources with Boyd Matheson can be heard weekdays from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app. 

Bonneville International Corporation, the company that owns KSL NewsRadio, is a subsidiary of Deseret Management Corporation, which is owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 

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Reflecting on impact of the Relief Society on International Women’s Day