for large loans partly payable in old shares. During and after the war, banks evolved into full-fledged industries employing a large workforce and orchestrating the storage, routing and pro- cessing of hundreds of millions of financial documents.
These requirements motivated considerable efforts in terms of organising work tasks and equipment as information pro- cessing tools: mechanical, then electro-mechanical and finally electronic machines spread through banks during the following decades, in pace with the upsurge in transactions, the increased use of banking services by the population, and inflation. As a result, banks faced a major logistical challenge while their margins were being squeezed. Furthermore, this tremendous increase in the volume of physical operations occurred at a time when male employees were leaving the banking counters and branches. Consequently, banks became one of the most impor- tant employment sectors for women. But unlike the defence in- dustry, where the armistice resulted in the return of the male workforce and a reduction in production, women remained in the banking sector. From less than 10% prior to the war, women made up over 30% of the banking sector s wage earners in
Pauline Mondange, Société Générale employee, 1910.
Pauline Mondange, a young shorthand typist recruited by Société Générale in 1910, proved to be a leading trade- union organiser and anarchist during WWI. She became a spokeswoman for women bank employees in Paris.
Société Générale, Historical Archives Department.