New rights, new freedoms, new target groups

On January 19, 1919, the time had finally come: all women in Germany were able to vote in the General Assembly elections for the first time, and 90 percent made use of their new right on election day. The months that followed the end of World War One signaled the turn of an era. Old Europe, with its emperors, large empires and traditional social structures, collapsed. New states were established, new democracies created and in more and more countries, new constitutions were awarding women the same rights as men. This trend became immediately apparent first and foremost in the right to vote for women. In other areas, women had to fight hard for their rights in their private lives, for education, at work and vis-àvis the authorities. German society at the time of the Weimar Republic, however, became more pluralistic on the whole, opening up increasing opportunities for women. Women were increasingly seen outside of traditional roles, such as that of daughter, wife or widow. A small number of women moved into political office, obtained academic degrees, drove cars and dared to smoke in public.

SPD poster for election to the Weimar National Assembly. This is the first time that women in Germany enjoy equal voting rights. (1919, Archiv der sozialen Demokratie der Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung)

This cultural change also changed the face of Allianz. Although the company, like the country and society as a whole, remained dominated by men, women were clearly stepping out of the shadow cast by their male counterparts. They assumed new roles at work and Allianz also discovered them as an independent, lucrative customer group, targeting them specifically in its advertisements.

In 1922, Allianz Life published an article entitled "And to round things off, a serious word about women", advising its agents to be well-equipped to counter arguments brought forward by women, in particular, during sales pitches. The article stated that women were particularly critical when it came to spending money on something for which they would "not receive something in return immediately" and saw this sort of spending as "throwing money out of the window". The article advised agents to provide precise information and to appeal to women's sense of responsibility for their families. Then, the article said, women would be able to considerably accelerate the decision to take out the policy. "Of course, clever women", wrote the sales expert in the Allianz newspaper in 1922 "and they are certainly not few and far between, think entirely different about these sorts of things! They don't sit back and relax until their husbands have secured their future and that of their children by taking out a life insurance policy very soon." Women soon became increasingly important as an independent customer group. In 1929, the sales support team for Allianz's agents was already targeting women specifically as customers. After all, "Germany is home to 11.5 million working women who all need sufficient life or pension insurance to ensure that they can look to the future worry-free."

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