On Monday 27 March, the London Stock Exchange (LSE) celebrated the 50th anniversary of women’s admittance to the LSE trading floor. London’s markets were opened for trading by special guests Hilary Pearson (nee Root) and Susan Shaw, two of the first ever female members of the LSE trading floor.
Following a 24 to five majority, the Council of the London Stock Exchange voted to admit women members to the trading floor from 26 March 1973. The decision followed campaigns from politicians, prospective members, and other financial institutions who had been lobbying for women to have equal membership rights as men. Muriel Wood became the first of 14 women elected to membership that year – part of a generation of women who forever transformed women’s access to the City of London.
Hosted by LSE CEO Julia Hoggett, the event featured by a keynote address by Anneliese Dodds, Shadow Secretary of State for Women and Equalities and Chair of the Labour Party, and discussions with business leaders exploring how to address the challenge of building the pipeline of future female leaders and improving access to capital for women-led businesses across the funding continuum.
“The women in that first cohort and indeed the subsequent ones, fought prejudice, some outrageous comments and a questioning of their ability and contribution. We owe those trailblazers a huge debt: they imagined a world where women could become members of the Stock Exchange and then stuck it out to both make it happen and just as importantly, make it stick,” said Hoggett.
The ceremony followed on from last week’s LSE celebration, hosted by The TRADE on 23 March to celebrate women in trading and investment, which saw editor Laurie McAughtry ring the closing bell alongside Hoggett and several other of the first women traders on the floor: including Michelle Underwood, Janet Stevens and Beryl Gayler.
Read More – A night to remember: The TRADE rings the closing bell at the London Stock Exchange to celebrate diversity in the workplace
Numerous other events have also been held to mark this historic occasion: including a landmark 300-person lunch at Plaisterers Hall last week to honour the first female cohort, organised by Winterflood and Goodacre and supported by the Mayor of London, Nicholas Lyons.
“I often say, we run a 300 year old fintech. However much the pace of trading and the technology has changed over the last 50 years, we are strongest when we remember the lessons of our history,” said Hoggett.