Rosie The Riveter

Veteran: Rosie the Riveter
Artist / Writer: Gayle Gleckler

America had not yet overcome the Great Depression when it entered World War II. Good work was hard to find particularly for minorities and women.

In the six months following the attack on Pearl Harbor, roughly 750,000 women sought well paid jobs in defense plants. Only about one in ten was accepted.

Americans were fighting on two fronts, and there were not enough able-bodied men to meet the needs of both the armed forces and booming war industries. Employers who once thought women were too delicate for tasks like welding and riveting found them well suited for such work and faced a new challenge-attracting women to jobs considered unfeminine.

The character “Rosie the Riveter” in 1942 popularized the hit song by Ben Linder leader Kay Kaiser, became an icon and inspired depictions of strong working women like this poster. When asked why even more women did not join the workforce, one woman who knew what it was like to raise a family responded: “Because they don’t have wives.”