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26 March  
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1973: Stock Exchange admits women
Women have been admitted to the London Stock Exchange for the first time in the institution's 200 year history.

Ten newly elected lady members entered the Stock Exchange today on the first working day since their election took place.

The decision to break a time-honoured tradition and introduce equality was announced on 1 February and ended years of campaigning by women in the financial sector.

Muriel Wood, a dedicated campaigner and newly elected member, arrived with her husband Walton, both of Sternberg, Flower.

Mrs Wood said: "There is a great deal of activity and bustle but it seems it is going on at a rather leisurely pace."

Susan Shaw said it was a breakthrough for women in finance which allowed them to forge contacts in the industry.

Bumpy ride

Although today's admission is a major victory for the debate on sexual equality the next hurdle will be allowing women dealers on to the floor.

Bookies have placed long odds - 10 to one - against this taking place in the foreseeable future.

Mr Wood said he thought it would take "a little time" before that decision was taken.

The admission of women today is the latest development in the Stock Exchange's history which has been at times a bumpy ride.

The original concept of the London Stock Exchange was first bandied around in 1760 when 150 brokers, fired from the Royal Exchange for misconduct and rowdiness, set up a club to buy and sell shares.

Thirteen years later members voted to change the name and the Stock Exchange was born.

It was not until 1801 that the exchange was regulated and it remained in action until The Great War forced the closure of the Exchange market at the end of July until the new year.

The Stock Exchange Battalion of Royal Fusiliers was formed - 1,600 volunteered, 400 never returned.

Last year the Stock Exchange moved to a new 26-storey office block with a 23,000 square foot trading floor.

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The Stock Exchange
The move ends years of campaigning


In Context
The media at the time described the London Stock Exchange as the "last bastion of misogyny" and the admission of women was a major step forward in modernising it.

But it was another 28 years before a woman landed one of the most senior posts at the London Stock Exchange.

In 2001, Clara Furse took over as chief executive, a post created 27 years earlier.

But modernity came in other guises for the LSE and one of the significant advances came in 1986 when trading was no longer carried out face-to-face on a market floor but via computer and telephone from separate dealing rooms.

It was enabled by two computer systems displaying share price information in brokers' offices around the UK.

Stories From 26 Mar


 
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