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the 1920s. Paid less and for lower-skilled tasks, women satis- fied the new demands that emerged as a result of war, such as the decrease in the real value of single transactions combined with significant increase in quantity: in other words, less mar- gin and more volume. Similarly, many of the so-called women s jobs (cleaning, cafeteria work, blue-collar tasks) were not in- cluded in the collective agreements negotiated with the banks. During the following decades, however, due to the large and irreplaceable presence of women in banks, the sector became a hub of professional recognition for women, providing them with gradual access to managerial and executive roles. In the meantime, from the 1920s up to the 1970s, women workers proved to be combative, capable of asserting their rights and of imposing social reform.

An increasingly strategic banking sector

The success of women s wage claims in the banking sector is also an indi- rect result of the war. Deprived of a financial market, the French economy both the public and private sector relied on the smooth functioning of banking networks. As such, the French government was present behind all banking negotiations, supporting discussions relating to institutions weakened by bad business dealings or to the sector s general economy. Thus, a major strike was avoided in 1936 while, in 1947, banks became one of the few industries to sign a collective agreement. More importantly,

Crédit National bonds, 1919.

Established on 10 October 1919, Crédit National was a financial institution with a special status as a private enterprise that served the State. It was created to help finance the reconstruction efforts. As requested by and overseen by the government, the institution s capital was subscribed by the main French banking institutions and by major French companies. In 1919, true to its mission, Crédit National launched its first bond issue.

Archives of the Fédération Nationale des Caisses d Epargne.