In public life, more and more women were moving up the career ladder. Annemarie Renger, for example, was elected President of the German Bundestag in 1972. Margaret Thatcher became the first female chair of the Conservative Party and was later elected
British prime minister. And Gro Harlem Brundtland became the first female Norwegian government leader in 1981. At Allianz, too, a small number of women had started to move into top positions from the 1970s onwards. Luise Stepken held a leading position in the technical operations department and was appointed senior executive with signing authority [Prokuristin] in 1975, Anneliese Ammann managed the translation department, Christine Schlather was elected Chairwoman of the Board of Management of Allianz's company health insurance fund in 1975 and Hermine Macht became deputy head of HR at Allianz's head office.
Women also started to move up the ranks of Allianz's employee representative bodies. Ulrike Mascher, who had been a member of the head office Works Council since 1975, was appointed as its Chairwoman in 1980 and was a member of Allianz's supervisory board. Company agreements such as flexi-time and part-time work helped women to progress. Allianz launched flexi-time in 1970 without having explicitly considered this as a move to help employees combine family and working life. The right to paid maternity leave, child-raising allowance and the move to give part-time work equal legal status made it easier for more and more mothers to return to work.
Nevertheless, the progress made up until 1990 remained very modest on the whole. Out of 25,924 employees of Allianz in Germany in 1991, 9,469 were women. 19 of these women had general signing authority [Prokura] and three were heads of department. Given these figures, it comes as no surprise that it was not Hermine Macht, but rather the male head of HR at the Frankfurt branch office, who succeeded the head of HR at head office when he left. Or the fact that Ms. Mascher continued her career in politics as opposed to at Allianz. Sales remained a firmly male domain, although something incredible happened in 1977: for the first time in the history of the elite agents' "Heß-Club" association, the association had a female vice-president in Irmgard Beckmann, despite the fact that only two to three percent of the company's full-time agents were women.