Rosie The Riveter Day is celebrated on March 21 to recognize the part American women played in America’s victory in World War II. As the Great War raged on in the early 1940s, all the able-bodied men were drafted to fight, and women were called upon to support the workforce. The symbolism of Rosie the Riveter stands for the millions of women who left their homes for factories to keep the country’s manufacturing processes going. After decades of sustained activism, the U.S. Congress heeded the calls and dedicated March 21 to this cultural icon.
History of Rosie The Riveter Day
Rosie the Riveter Day is a fitting recognition of the legacy of working women in America, and the contribution of women during the Second World War. Being a total war, when every able-bodied man was sent to fight for the Allies, the nation’s manufacturing leg came to a halt. From heavy machinery to steel mills and freight ports, every male-dominated industry came short of personnel due to abrupt drafting.
Hence, the federal government issued propaganda to encourage women to join the industrial workforce as a patriotic duty. The iconic poster with a woman in a red bandana raising her fist was used to recruit women. The total number of female industrial workers went from 27% to 37% in the years between 1940 and 1945. More than 19 million women held jobs outside of the traditional women’s workforce for the first time ever. Soon enough, Rosie became a cultural icon. Hollywood immortalized Rosie the Riveter in 1944’s critically acclaimed movie of the same title.
The campaign proved to be a social reckoning that changed the nature of women’s involvement in the workforce forever. Riding on the hot wave of the suffragette movement, the U.S. government inadvertently became responsible for the second wave of feminism in the west. In 2017, the U.S. Congress passed a resolution to mark March 21 as National Rosie the Riveter Day, a day in Women’s History Month. The movement had lasting effects on the collective American psyche, and the resolution acknowledges this vital role played by women during the Second World War.
Rosie The Riveter Day timeline
Germany invades Poland on September 1, initiating the Second World War.
Women heed the call for factory workers as a patriotic duty to the country, and industries begin employing women for all kinds of jobs.
American singers Redd Evans and John Jacob Loeb release a song featuring Rosie as a tireless worker, coining the term “Rosie the Riveter.”
The United States Congress officially designates March 21 as National Rosie The Riveter Day.
Rosie The Riveter Day FAQs
Who is the real Rosie the Riveter?
There are conflicting reports about the real identity of Rosie the Riveter. The most legitimate claim comes from Naomi Parker Fraley, a waitress from California who disclosed the details to People Magazine in 2016.
Is it appropriate to dress as Rosie the Riveter for Halloween?
Of course, it is honorable to rock the iconic poster and pose. All you need are blue overalls, a leather belt, a buttoned-down denim shirt, and a red bandana.
How did Rosie the Riveter impact post-war America?
Massive changes were felt across several industries after the campaign was suspended. From female bathrooms to restricted hours and security, the relatively brief period of war brought lasting changes to America’s working style.
How to Observe Rosie The Riveter Day
Rock the pose
The iconic pose was one of the most prevalent forms of art of the 20th century. Mark the day of celebration with the pose. Wear a red bandana, raise your fist, and pledge your support to the fight against gender inequality.
Watch the movie
Rosie the Riveter became an instant cultural icon with references in hundreds of Hollywood projects. This includes the 1994 “Rosie the Riveter” movie starring Jane Frazee and Barbara Jo Allen. The romantic comedy is the perfect depiction of life in the ‘40s and makes for a fun afternoon watch.
Spread the word
Share details about the day on your social media with the hashtag #NationalRosieTheRiveterDay. Organize an evening of drinks and feminist toasts, and celebrate the spirit of womanhood.
5 Mind-Blowing Statistics About The Rosie The Riveter Campaign
90% of all able-bodied women aged 18 to 40 joined the workforce in 1943.
The birth of the pay gap
The women were paid 53% less than the men they replaced.
One-third of all manufacturing and automobile jobs were held by women in 1944, a feat that remains unmatched.
75% of the women expressed an intent to continue working after the war.
The epic fall
However, as the war drew to an end, the percentage of women fell from 36% to 28% within three years.
Why Rosie The Riveter Day is Important
It honors the sacrifice
Acknowledging the movement does not take away from the fact that millions of women were thrust into unfavorable conditions and gruesome work with little to no training as a part of their patriotic duty. On National Rosie The Riveter Day, we honor the sacrifices of the working women of World War II.
The fight continues
There is a long road ahead of us in terms of gender equality and equal opportunities. With a glaring pay gap, unsafe working conditions, lack of representation at the executive level, and everyday sexism, the list doesn’t end. On March 21, we take inspiration from Rosie and pledge to work towards a more equal society.
It laments the changing times
The 21st-century fight for women’s rights is different from past movements. Where the Rosie poster proclaimed, “We can do it,” today, we ask ourselves, “What can't a woman do?” Although the nature of our fight has changed, the struggle for true equality endures.
Rosie The Riveter Day dates