Rosie the Riveter

By Nancy Aird

The iconic face of Rosie promoted the female defense workers during World War II, but the name of the worker was unknown. The first poster image was titled “We Can Do It!”.  J. Howard Miller created the iconic women in a red bandana with her flexed bent arm in a rolled-up shirt sleeve in 1942 as part of the Westinghouse Electric Corp. wartime production campaign. Norman Rockwell created a cover on The Saturday Evening Post on May 29, 1943.   The women had a blue jumpsuit, red bandana in her hair, and was eating a sandwich.   “Rosie” was painted on the lunchbox of the worker, thus ROSIE the RIVETER became the American women worker.

Naomi Parker Fraley was featured in a photo taken at the Naval Air Station in Alameda, California.  She is considered to be the “We Can Do It” inspiration.  Naomi ran the lather machine on the production line. Other women considered to be the inspiration for Rosie include Rose Will Monroe.  Rose worked as a riveter at the Willow run Bomber Plant near Detroit, Michigan.  She was featured in a promotional film for war bonds.  While Rosalind P. Walter from Long Island, New York was the inspiration for the popular song by Evans and Loeb “Rosie the Riveter”.

Rosie convinced women that their patriotic duty was to support the nation’s defense effort.  She was joined by WENDY THE WELDER representing the women who welded and assembled the steel plates into troop and supply ships.  Women’s employment and empowerment opened up opportunities for independence.  Women helped the war effort with more than 6 million women volunteering for factory jobs, 3 million volunteered with the Red Cross, and over 200,000 served in the military.