24 Landmark Facts about Women and Money

March 20, 2023
24 Landmark Facts about Women and Money

For centuries, American women have fought for equal participation in the labor force, access to more lucrative occupations, financial autonomy, and wage equality. Progress made thus far has had a far-reaching impact on how women live, work, and engage in the financial world today, and, without question, women will continue to play a pivotal role in the betterment of society, culture, and the national economy going forward.

In recognition of Women’s History Month, we’ve updated this list of key statistics, milestones, and specific achievements highlighting the women pioneers who have contributed to our collective female economic power over the years.

Earning Power

Financial Independence

Saving and Investing

Economic Power

Women in Fintech—LendingClub’s Female Leaders

  • Chief People Officer Tina Wilson is responsible for LendingClub’s human resources and recruitment practice, as well as team culture, employee diversity, inclusion, and engagement.
  • Chief Risk Officer Annie Armstrong is responsible for leading independent assurance over risks and operational efficiency opportunities as well as compliance activities for LendingClub.
  • Board of Director members Kathryn Reimann and Erin Selleck provide guidance to LendingClub with their extensive combined experience in consumer financial regulation, bank governance, compliance risk management, finance, banking, and capital markets.
  • LendingClub earned recognition in Bloomberg’s 2023 Gender-Equality Index and a perfect score in Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 2022 Corporate Equality Index.

A Timeline of U.S. Women’s History in Finance


Early 1700s: Pennsylvanian women are granted the right to own and manage property, but only if their husbands are physically or mentally unable to fulfill these duties.


1825: Rebecca Lukens becomes the first woman to head a U.S. industrial company after inheriting Brandywine Iron. The business eventually grew to be a Fortune 500 company.

1844: Maine becomes the first state to grant married women property rights by granting them “separate economy” and then trade licenses.

1848: New York passes the Married Woman’s Property Act, which gives a married woman the same financial rights as an unmarried woman and excuses her from liability for her husband’s personal debts.

1866: Emancipated black women working as laundresses in Mississippi unionize and organize a strike to demand better pay.

1869: Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton form the National Woman Suffrage Association with the goal of achieving voting rights for women through an amendment to the Constitution. In the same year, Lydia Moss Bradley becomes what is most likely the first American woman to enter into a prenuptial agreement to protect her sizable assets.

1870: Victoria Woodhull and Tennessee Claflin open the first women-owned Wall Street brokerage house, targeting women investors as its primary customers.

1886: Martha Washington is the first woman to appear solo on U.S. currency when she becomes the face of the $1 silver certificate.


1903: Maggie Lena Walker opens Richmond-based St. Luke Penny Savings Bank, the first bank chartered by a woman in the United States.

1919: Sarah Breedlove becomes the country’s first self-made woman millionaire. She was born to freed slaves, orphaned, and later invented and sold homemade hair-care products through the Madame C.J. Walker Manufacturing Company.

1920: The U.S. ratifies the 19th Amendment, legally guaranteeing American women the right to vote. It was a victory that took five decades of agitation and protest.

1933: Frances Perkins is appointed by FDR as the first female cabinet member. As the Secretary of Labor, she plays a major role in the creation of Social Security.

1938: The U.S. passes the Fair Labor Standards Act and institutes the federal minimum wage, eliminating many cases of gender wage disparity for hourly workers.

1960s: The U.S. grants women the right to have their own personal bank accounts.

1967: Muriel Siebert becomes the first woman seated on the New York Stock Exchange, joining 1,365 men.

1968: The Fair Housing Act, part of the Civil Rights Act, forbids discrimination in home lending on the basis of gender, race, and more.

1971: The Supreme Court unanimously strikes down an Idaho law that allows only men to administer estates in probate court. The legal brief that won the case was authored by future Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

1972: Katharine Graham becomes the first woman CEO of an established Fortune 500 company.

1974: Congress passes the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, which includes a ban on the banking requirement that women have a male co-signer on applications for credit and loans.


2003: The State Quarter series features its first woman, Helen Keller, on the Alabama quarter.

2007: Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg famously dissents in the case of Ledbetter vs. Goodyear Tire Company, where Lily Ledbetter sued the company, her employer, for gender discrimination after discovering she was paid less than male counterparts. While the Supreme Court voted 5-4 in favor of Goodyear, RBG pressed for Congress to amend the associated Title IV clause—and the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was the first bill President Obama signed when he took office in 2009.

2011: The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is formed to oversee the fair lending practices of financial institutions and protect consumers from discriminatory business practices.

2014: Janet Yellen begins her four-year term as the first female Chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve, during which time the unemployment rate dropped every month under her leadership.

2021: Janet Yellen becomes the first female U.S. Secretary of the Treasury.

2023: 27% of seats in the U.S. Congress are held by women as of 2021—a record high—setting the stage for the next wave of change, from finance to equality and everything in between.

The Bottom Line

During Women’s History Month (and every month) we celebrate the extraordinarily powerful combination of women and money. LendingClub Bank supports equal access to its financial products and services, providing a level playing field for women to take control of their financial health.

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