Breaking Barriers: The Bank’s Trailblazing Women in the Early 20th Century.

The Role of Women in Banking During WWII: A Focus on the Bank of England

In 1894, Janet Hogarth made history by becoming the first woman to work at the Bank, where she supervised a team of women who sorted used banknotes. By the time the First World War began, the number of women clerks employed by the Bank had grown significantly from 65 in 1914 to 1,309 by 1919. These women were paid less than men and had a separate pay structure that remained in place until 1958.

During this time, the Bank implemented a salary scheme for men that included a substantial increase around the age of 28, which was considered the typical age for marriage. On the other hand, women were required to leave their positions at the Bank upon marriage and receive a lump sum, essentially serving as a dowry. This policy, known as the marriage bar, was in line with the prevailing public opinion of the time and was common in other institutions like the Civil Service. The marriage bar at the Bank was finally lifted in 1949 due to labor shortages after the Second World War.

During World War II, married women were allowed to remain in their roles at the Bank with the discretion of its governors. Women’s duties expanded slightly during wartime to include more clerical tasks, resulting in a 15% reduction in those working on sorting and counting notes and a ten percent increase in those performing clerical work from 1939 to

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