Rosie the Riveter was an American hero that was born in 1942 as America began to join the war effort. While more and more men were being deployed overseas American factories needed more workers to help keep up with the demand for the war effort. Working class women became in higher demand for factory jobs and jobs that were previously male dominated. To help support the war effort companies produced propaganda, patriotically portraying women as a major part of the war while remaining home in America.
Rosie was originally portrayed by American artist J. Howard Miller in 1942 in an image reading “We Can Do It!”. In 1943 the song “Rosie the Riveter” was released by Redd Evans and John Jacob Loeb. Following the release of the song a new artwork emerged depicting a woman in a red bandana with a lunchbox labeled “Rosie”. The name Rosie the Riveter stuck and became a staple of American war propaganda. Rosie became a hero of the female workforce and a symbol as to how people could support their troops from American soil.
With food, weaponry, and supplies in heavy demand many American factories took on military support throughout the war. The male working class was rapidly depleted by soldiers heading overseas and companies started turning toward the working-class female. Many working-class women began to take on previously male dominated jobs and take on what was formerly “men’s work”. Nearly 350,000 women served the war both at home and overseas repairing airplanes, operating radios, driving trucks, nursing, and any other job that could free up more soldiers. With such a high demand for support, middle class women were persuaded to join the workforce despite raising children. Heroes like Rosie were put on the radio, in films, and on posters everywhere to try to inspire women to help the war effort in any ways that they could.
The war began to change the American way of life for women. Quickie marriages became common where high school sweethearts would marry before being shipped overseas to fight. Women would then help out at home. It became more common to learn to manage the finances and keep their own house while writing letters back to their husbands overseas. Meanwhile, much of the axis powers chose not to allow women into their force. Hitler continued to push that woman should remain home and be good, fertile, wives and mothers. Even viewing America as degenerate for needing to put their women to work.
Rosie the Riveter became an icon of World War II that’s still used today to represent women’s rights and power. Following the war many women were pushed out of jobs as men returned and demand for military supplies halted. Rosie remains a symbol of equal rights in the workforce and a patriotic inspiration to America.
Interested in World War II history?
Learn all about the inspiration behind our Allied Brewing Company family of beers. Each label represents a historic event or icon from this period that we're proud to share with you.