Exceptional women: Eva von Grumbkow and Mia Weber

"Now, in the aftermath of defeat, men can no longer expect us to accept them as leaders." This was what a female doctor wrote in a reader's letter to a women's magazine in 1946. But this was exactly what was soon expected of women again. Germany in 1945 was considered a "society without men". In the 20-40 age group, women accounted for around 64 percent of the population. The German Basic Law of 1949 proclaimed equal rights for women. The sentence "Men and women are equal" had been pushed through by Elisabeth Selbert and Frieda Nadig in the face of considerable opposition from within their own party and the majority in the Parliamentary Council. Up until 1958, however, husbands still had "the right to make the final decision": a man was entitled to terminate his wife's employment contract if she worked without his consent. And most women had to step aside to make way for men returning from the war. Only widows were allowed to keep their jobs in exceptional cases.

Advertising information for agents in the Allianz newspaper, aimed specifically at women: ”Women in control of their lives!”. (1950)

When the head of Allianz's technical operations department, Heinz-Leo Müller-Lutz, used the words "We're among men" in 1954 when he started to describe his tips for successful career progression, he was describing day-to-day at the company. Ever since 1945, women had started to disappear again, had left Allianz or had returned to the positions traditionally occupied by women. Eva von Grumbkow, however, was one exception. In 1956, 19 years after starting at Allianz, she was the first woman to be awarded special signing authority (Prokura) since the end of the war and headed up the bookkeeping and statistics departments until she retired in 1971. Mia Weber's most successful period at Allianz – she had joined the "young ladies' department" of ADVV at the age of 14 back in 1911, started with stroke of bad luck. Her husband died in 1944. She then took over his general agency on a provisional basis for a fixed term until the end of the war. Her work soon brought her resounding success. Among Allianz's sales force, which was otherwise almost exclusively comprised of men, she soon became one of the company's most successful agents, became a member of the elite agents' "Heß-Club" association in 1950 and 1951 and headed up her agency for a whole decade in total. By comparison, a traditional role in which a large number of women worked for Allianz was that of non-sales employee in their husbands' agencies.

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