And it wasn't just in the office that the world was starting to change. Ever since the mid-19th century, more and more women in the US and Europe had been playing an active role in the quest for equal rights. They organized their activities in associations, fighting, among other things, for the right to vote, the right to education and the right to work. The industrial revolution had created substantial demand for cheap labor in the new factories and this demand was increasingly being met by women. Now, middle class women were also aiming to get on to the job market. Insurance companies were looking for new employees. Their business was expanding, with ever larger sections of the population recognizing the need to insure themselves or their possessions. In line with this trend, the first companies started to employ women.
Stuttgarter Verein (ADVV) , which merged with Allianz in 1927, was certainly a pioneer in this respect. In as early as 1887, the company employed women for the first time to perform clerical work in Stuttgart. By 1900, 200 women were already working in the company's "young ladies' department", meaning that one in three ADVV employees was a woman. The department was headed up by a female manager, director Miss Mohr. In line with the moral values of the Wilhelmine Empire, work in the young ladies' department started at 7.20 a.m., 10 minutes earlier than for the men. This was designed to ensure that women and men would not meet on the way to work. And which tasks were assigned to the new female employees? The less prestigious, less well-paid work performed using office machines. Still, by 1907, more than 3,500 women were already working in the insurance sector as a whole. This corresponded to around six to seven percent of all salaried employees.