I came across this Post War Banking Employment Contract whilst spring cleaning my files. A welcome distraction and treasured find. What a fascinating historical document. It gave me cause to pause, reflect and celebrate the changes that have taken place within the industry we all know and love.
I smiled when I read clause three ‚ÄòDress‚Äô‚Ä¶
‚ÄúNavy Blue, Black or very Dark Grey are the only colours which may be worn in the office.‚Äù
No doubt we all have wardrobes full of dark and even pin striped suits that thankfully, in our era that celebrates different styles, are pushed further to the back of the rail. Yet prudently kept, just in case – well you never know when you might need it! It reminded me that not so very long ago a very close friend of mine, a senior banking exec commissioned a tailor to make her a blue blazer for work. Why? So during the Monday morning management meeting when the Chair – in a well-intended bid to create a relaxed working environment – stood up and boomed ‚ÄúGentlemen it is time to remove the blazers‚Äù as the only female in the room not making the tea, she could join the men and remove her jacket‚Ä¶
Times have changed. People drive change.
I love her splash of colour, style and vibrancy; one we can now all bring to the workplace each day, along with our whole person. I believe this approach of expressing your individual style allows you to be who you are and helps you reach your full potential.
Progress may have been slow over the last few decades for women in our industry and there is still much to do. By collaborating and supporting working together there is no stopping us. Today there are many groups and forums for us to engage in, through I believe such organizations as: http://www.wibf.org.uk
Of course I accepted the challenge laid down by Marisa Drew the Keynote speaker at last year‚Äôs Women in Banking and Finance Annual Lunch.¬† Her logic: if every woman in the room (and the Ball Room was packed to the chandeliers!), mentored two women, together we would help change the shape and face of our industry. Simple, straightforward and selfless. It‚Äôs hardly surprising that she‚Äôs been nominated for the prestigious Veuve Clicquot Business Women Awards.
Maybe you‚Äôd like to take a look here for more on this award-recognizing enterprising spirit; and for more on the fascinating story to the women we‚Äôve all seen on those distinguished lovely orange labels. Definitely a personal favourite of mine. Madame Clicquot is yet another remarkable visionary woman who lead the way her field, making innovative changes to champagne production ‚Äì sant√©!
Talking of women making their mark in history, it would be remiss of me not to mention those closer to home who ran Child & Co, the oldest independent bank in the UK; Bank to King William III and first to introduce the pre-printed cheque. Now owned by RBS.
The girls at Child & Co, as you would expect, were passionate, brimming with determination and their own women. Sarah Anne Child eloped with the 10th Earl of Westmorland in 1713, hotly perused by her horrified father. Brandishing his pistol. She won the race in her carriage to Gretna Green, married her man, but she lost her rights to the Bank. As Nicola Horlick rightly says in her book ‚ÄúYou can‚Äôt have it all.‚Äù By contrast, Lady Sarah Sophia, a Partner with a safe pair of hands and thinking ahead of her times, calmly ran the Bank for many long prosperous years‚Ä¶It‚Äôs always fascinating to know what‚Äôs in your gene pool.
Their spirit transcended through the centuries to my own Grandmother, being one of the first women in the UK to be awarded a degree from Oxford; setting the standard high, she proudly flew the suffragette flag.
Returning to the here and now‚Ä¶.and finally as they say. Clause nineteen ‚ÄòDuty and Conduct‚Äô‚Ä¶‚Äú‚Ä¶every clerk in the service of the Bank shall apply herself to her duties with intelligence, zeal and loyalty‚Ä¶.without showing partiality or preference.‚Äù¬†
Maybe zeal is an out-of-vogue word replaced by passion as a modern day motivation. The effective path for change, diversity and inclusion in the workplace was it seems already underway.
Times have changed. People drive change.
‚Ä¶So let‚Äôs raise a glass to celebrate enterprising, determined and forward thinking women throughout history and more closer to home throughout our own careers‚Ä¶here‚Äôs to celebrating shared success! Ladies in our heels we‚Äôre all making our own little piece of history happen‚Ä¶
Thank you. Check out the contract below.
Helen Child is a highly accomplished senior leader in the financial services industry. With over twenty years proven experience in the prepaid card and payments processing market, Helen‚Äôs reputation as an expert in this field is apt. Helen was voted globally as one of the top ten women in the prepaid industry and is currently a leading consultant with Striding Edge Ltd who provide Prepaid Payment Solutions & Prepaid Card Marketing.
To find out more about Helen, please visit http://www.striding-edge-ltd.com/helen-child
Helen has designed a comprehensive guide to Prepaid Currency Cards (FX Cards). View the guide here.