Decades of stagnation

As in the past, the 1960s also saw new areas of work emerging in fields where working processes were being reorganized and mechanized. These jobs did not, however, reflect the image that society had of the world and women's capabilities. This was a lesson that Erika Remmele, who applied to Allianz's data processing center in 1966 and then worked as a programmer, trainer and project leader for three decades, had already learnt as a child. In her report on how she ended up at Allianz via the German Employment Agency, she writes, "After an aptitude test that confirmed my gift for mathematics, logics, technology and abstraction, I was advised to learn programming. I had no idea what programming was – I only knew that I was suited to it. Then I remembered that maths was my favorite subject at school and that I always got top marks without having to put much effort in. But somehow, I had suppressed the memory because these skills were never appreciated in my family. Somehow, it wasn't appropriate for a girl to be good at maths."


Conventional women‘s roles: Secretaries distributing post in the Cologne branch. (late 1950s)

The images that insurance advertisements painted of women were also set in stone. Women would appear in fashionable clothing and with tidy hair-dos at their typewriters, while shopping, chatting with friends over coffee, doing housework, looking after children, as brides looking forward to their dowry insurance payout and as a support for their husbands, pausing at the garden gate to wave to them as they leave for work. Given that this was the standard at the time, the woman wearing a stewardess' uniform in an Allianz advertising brochure was exotic by comparison.

At the same time, sales experts had long been aware of how important a woman's opinion could be for their business. Even this awareness is presented by the Allianz newspaper to its readers in a patronizingly patriarchal manner in 1966, "When it comes to life insurance matters, a woman's opinion should be heard in any case. It is not rare for her opinion on family welfare to be decisive for closing the deal."

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