Breaking Barriers: Janet Hogarth’s Pioneering Role in Women’s Work at the Bank

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

In 1894, Janet Hogarth made history as the first woman to work in 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 World War II, the Bank allowed married women to remain in their roles on a temporary basis with the discretion of the Governors. The duties of women expanded slightly during the war to include more clerical tasks, resulting in a ten percent increase in those performing clerical work from 1939 to 1944. However, this was still not enough for some women who were expected to leave their positions upon marriage and receive a lump sum payment.

The marriage bar at the Bank was finally lifted in 1949 due to labor shortages after World War II. This policy, which required women to leave their positions at the Bank upon marriage and receive a lump sum payment, was common at other institutions like the Civil Service at that time. Women’s duties expanded slightly during World War II, but they were still expected to leave their positions upon marriage and receive a lump sum payment as part of what was known as “the dowry.”

Janet Hogarth’s historic role as the first woman to work at the Bank paved the way for future generations of female workers who would fight for equal pay and opportunities within institutions like banks and government agencies. Despite facing discrimination and obstacles throughout history, these women have made significant contributions to society through their hard work and dedication.

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