The Stocking Room

Given that March is Women’s History Month, I’ve been taking some time over the past weeks to reflect on the remarkable history of some of the women in my own family. For instance, my grandmother Dorothy who passed away at the tender age of 100. In her lifetime, she witnessed two world wars, the introduction of airplanes, space travel, computers, and cell phones, and so many other things we take for granted in our everyday life.

For me, however, it’s not just the technological advances that are astonishing but the fundamental rights issues and change of lifestyle that my grandmother witnessed. As a woman and as her granddaughter, these gender issues are what resonate the most.

Many times, Dorothy recalled stories of the introduction of women’s rights, breaking the mold of how women were perceived in the workplace, and the era of the sexual revolution. I loved these stories and am sorry I didn’t realize as a child how important they are to who I am and how we all are today.

Charles Riggs, a Wells Fargo Guided by History blogger, shared some interesting information on how in the 1800’s most state laws made a woman the legal dependent of her husband after marriage. When these laws changed in the 1900’s, institutions changed with them. In his post titled “Women’s History Month,” Charles talks about how how savvy banks, like Wells Fargo, began adapting their facilities to fit the particular needs of female customers. It seems back in the early 1900’s, women customers carried their cash in either their stocking or bosom. So the idea of a private “stocking room,” where woman customers could retire to remove their cash, was created.

Let this sink in for a minute. Can you imagine? As we consider the notion of a “stocking room” and how women weren’t allowed to vote until 1920, I hope you will think about all the amazing women in your life and in history who have paved the way for those of us now who are independent, financially knowledgeable and taking charge of our own lives every day.

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One Response to The Stocking Room

  1. Carolyn says:

    I was a bank teller (not for Wells Fargo!) in the 1980s. Each month, an elderly woman would come to the bank to cash her Social Security check, and I would accompany her into the safe deposit vault to help her pin the money into her bra! I’d like to see an ATM do THAT!

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