Every year March is the time designated to celebrate the achievements of women in our country, and around the world. Here at National Small Loan, we think every month should be Womens History Month. The majority of our clients are women, and we hope that if you were to ask any of them, they would tell you that our company is one that treats all women with the respect they deserve.
But women being treated with respect was not always the case!
It was in fact very recently that females were given equal standing with males on issues of loans, banking, and money. How recently? Read on and you may be surprised!
Womens History in the US
- Mississippi allowed women to start owning property in 1839. They were the first state to do so.
- In 1862 the first loan for a woman was approved by a bank. Thank the forward-thinking folks at San Francisco Savings union for making history.
- Women were not allowed to use the men’s stock exchange, and so Mary Gage opened the first stock exchange for women in 1880. For the first time, women could use their own money to speculate on railroad futures and stocks.
- By 1881 the country of France allowed single women to open up their own bank accounts. It took another five years for the French to afford the same rights to married women.
How long did it take the United States to follow suit? Only about 80 years.
Can you imagine that all the way through the 1950s American women were not allowed their own private bank accounts?
- Clarksville, Tennessee became home to the first ever Women’s Bank. It catered exclusively to female clients with female employees. To answer your next question, the owners and shareholders of the bank were still all men. Change comes only a little at a time.
- In 1974, the US government passed the Equal Credit Opportunity Act. This was the first time in US history that women were openly allowed to apply for loans and credit without having a male co-sign or vouch for them. Until then, any woman — regardless of her income — was required to have a male co-signer. And even then, women were usually only offered half the credit as a man would be.
- The Equal Credit Opportunity Act changed all that, only several decades behind more progressive countries.
- In 1975 the First Women’s Bank opens in New York City. Not only catering to female clients, but this was the first time a commercial bank was owned and operated by females.
Where do We Go From Here?
We have come a long way as a society, but we all still have a long way to go.
Part of growing, changing, and evolving is understanding the past. So instead of getting angry that women have been treated as second class citizens by banks and lenders for so long, let’s get motivated to keep fighting for change.
Don’t let womens history be confined to a single month, let us celebrate it all year long.