rosie the riveting

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  1. 1. Rosie the RIVETing WOMENS RIGHTS THEN & NOW Rockwell, N. (Painter). (1943). Rosie the Riveter [painting]. Retrieved from 02/RosieTheRiveter.jpg
  2. 2. Introduction: Rosie the Riveter, an icon still recognizable sixty years after her inception, has been a pop-culture artifact that holds just as much meaning today as she did during World War II. Womens rights were not at the forefront of conversation as things were just as they were, but due to the war, women had been given opportunity to learn skills in jobs typically help only by men. This equalization of roles had sparked a change in what was to be considered the status-quo. Men were supposed to work out in the world and women within the home, but Rosie offered change during wartime. These changes were not something that all women were willing to give up in peace time, they had received a taste of equal representation in the workforce and wanted more. Eventually Rosie even became adopted by womens rights movements as a symbol that women could perform just as well as men. These movements have propelled us into a better standard for womens rights, even if that standard still needs work. Rosies role in equality, post and pre- war expectations of women, as well as how things have changed today will be analyzed. Rosie was to be used to generate thoughts of equality and bring women into the workforce temporarily while men were at war, propaganda was being used to construct a myth about change for women, but Rosie and womens rights movements took this opportunity and made it their own. We Can Do It! 1942 poster by J. Howard Miller National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution
  3. 3. Women Pre World War II Historpedia states that Women had long been seen as stay at home mothers before World War Two and only that. The stereotypical, perfect American family had the father that brought home the bacon each day during the week and the mother who raised their children. The fact of the matter is, women always worked outside the house but it just wasnt glorified as much (2012, para. 1). While the comic strip on the left demonstrates that being just a housewife is more than it seems, even it doesnt do justice to the fact that women of the time, pre WWII, were super-wives and many still maintained jobs. Keane, B. (Artist). (2010). The Family Circus: Just a Housewife [cartoon]. Retrieved from
  4. 4. Women Needed in War Time From left to right: Shes a WoW (Woman Ordinance Worker) [poster] (1942) retrieved from 1945/Themes/People/Women/World_War_II/Introduction/index.html Find Your War Job [poster] (1943) retrieved from Do the Job He Left Behind [poster] (1943) retrieved from Once America had joined World War II, every able bodied man was called to arms. As a result, America lost a lot of workers in industrial factories that were still needed to support our efforts overseas. American government and popular media made a concerted effort to portray civic service as a woman's duty, using glamorized images of female workers to promote factory employment (Perkins, 2015, para. 3), the images above are a result of those efforts and the woman portrayed would come to be known as Rosie the Riveter.
  5. 5. A Call to Arms, Answered Americas women answered the call for workers as over six million began to fill jobs left by men. The women that volunteered in factory jobs worked in welding, machining, building aircrafts, repairing tanks, and armament factories, jobs once held by men who were called away to fight in the war (Bryant, 2009, para, 38). It was not an easy transition though as many struggled with new horizons, social discrimination, gender harassment, and physical pain from long hours and poor working conditions. The women were very important during the war in keeping the home countries in line and allowing the men to leave by taking over their jobs (Bryant, 2009, para. 43). The skills that women obtained during this time would forever change their role within society, many women may have been happy returning to working within the home, but many were ready for more. Women welders in New Britain, Connecticut, 1943. Retrieved from 1941-1945/ Women working at the Redstone Arsenal in Alabama, 1940s. Retrieved from the-riveter-1941-1945/
  6. 6. Activists supporting the Equal Rights Amendment during a 1978 rally in Chicago. Photo credit: Chicago Sun-Times file photo. Retrieved from equa_b_6098120.html Equal Rights for Women After World War II was over, and men returned home to resume the lives they had left behind, many women found themselves wanting to do more. The war had opened a door for them to live a life with more opportunity, they had their own money and could do with it what they pleased. They became more independent. War taught them how to stand on their on two feet. Though relatively short-lived, World War II provided a way for women to do what they wanted (Bryant, 2009, para. 46) and it wasnt something they were willing to let go. In the coming years women would fight for equal rights as shown in the image to the left, it was during this time that Rosie made her second appearance as images like that one called women to action for the war effort, in the 1980s women's rights advocates brought them out of the archives to encourage women in the workforce (HISTORYNET, 2014, para. 7). While equal rights were being fought for in America, World War II had an impact in other nations as well, regarding Womens Rights.
  7. 7. Equal Rights for Women in the UK The UK was experiencing its own Womens Rights movement after World War II, as their workforce had undergone much of the same changes as the US. During the 50s many employers had a rule of sorts referred to as the Marriage Bar, it prohibited entry into certain professions if you were a married woman or would terminate you upon becoming married. As time passed this began to change, but women were still being paid less then men for doing the same job and continued to be fired upon becoming pregnant. In 1968 female machinists working at a Ford Company, seen on the right, fought for equal pay, rising to 92% of what a mans wage was, this win brought about The Equal Pay Act of 1970. It was the first of its kind in the world to strive and end pay discrimination between men and women (Striking Women, 2014). A Labour pamphlet after the response of the report of the Royal Commission for equal Pay 1946, which concluded tentatively that teachers and some civil servants might benefit from equal pay, but also argued that unequal pay was necessary to secure motherhood as an attractive vocation compared to paid work. Credit: TUC Collections, London Metropolitan University Retrieved from http://www.striking- and-work/post-world-war-ii- 1946-1970 Women machinists at the Ford Motor Company plant in Dagenham took strike action on 7 June 1968 for equal pay. The women won a pay increase to 92% of men's wages. Credit: Pat Mantle TUC Collection, London Metropolitan University
  8. 8. Today, Equality is Still Only a Percent During World War II the average womans salary was $31.21 a week for her labors, even though the men that still remained made $54.65 a week (Bryant, 2009, para 38), this meant that women made roughly 57% of what men did at the time for the same job. An International Labour Organisation (ILO) study of 83 countries found that women earn 10%-30% less than men. Even in the US in 2010, women working full-time still earned only 77% of the male wage (van der Gaag, 2014, para. 18), this figure still holds true today. The wage gap between men and women has decreased over the last seventy years, and while 20% is a large step towards equality, it still isnt equal. Women from World War II had stepped into the workforce to help our country, and have been fighting for equal pay ever since.
  9. 9. Conclusion: Rosie the Riveter may not have been the reason for the Womens Rights Movements, but she did play a large part. First, she was used to bring women into the workplace in a temporary capacity, by means of propaganda. The ability for women to work in fields normally closed off to them developed a sense that women could work where they chose to and planted a seed for change. When that seed sprouted into what women, as a whole, were seeking in life, they began to seek equality through rights. Next, Rosie came to be used as a symbol for equal rights to represent that women could do as men did, and should be treated the same. While equality is still being sought after today, Rosie may come back once again to push those rights one step further. The riveter started as a ploy to encourage government benefit, but became an inspirational icon for womankind. She may be older, but she can do it. Retrieved From 01201
  10. 10. Annotated Bibliography Bryant, J. (2009, February 3). How War Changed the Role of Women in the United States. Retrieved from This is a basic history lesson providing essential facts in how things changed for women from WWI through WWII. HISTORYNET. (2014). Rosie the Riveter. Retrieved from Discusses the identity of Rosie, and makes mention of her poster use beyond World War II. Historpedia. (2012, Fall). A Change in Gender Roles: Womens Impact during


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