Meet the Real Rosie the Riveters in Color [VIDEO]
Rosie the Riveter was a cultural icon during World War II. She was representative of all the women in the United States who took on the jobs needed to keep the country running while our boys were overseas fighting the Nazi’s. The iconic image of Rosie was produced by the government to encourage women to work in the factories during wartime.
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Since so many men were overseas fighting the Nazi’s, the only people truly left to work in these wartime factories were women. According to History, in 1945, one out of every four married women worked in these factories.
The women helped manufacture munitions and war supplies and were even featured in the iconic poster that read, “We Can Do It!” The woman behind the poster was 20-year-old Naomi Parker-Fraley. Wearing her signature red-and-white-polka-dot bandana, she is depicted working on a turret lathe. The original photo was taken in 1942 in California.
That poster, unfortunately, was not able to truly show the sacrifice and service these women did for the country during those war years.
Thanks to Alfred T. Palmer, in 1943, the pictures were brought to life with color restoration. Palmer, an Office of War Information photographer, showed how pivotal they were to the war effort.
The propaganda campaign created by the U.S. government had more than 310,000 women working on aircraft in 1943. The first image of Rosie the Riveter appeared on the cover of Saturday Evening Post that same year.
The campaign was used to persuade women that it was their patriotic duty to join the workforce. The image, which was painted by Norman Rockwell, had Rosie’s feet resting on a copy of Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler’s 1925 political manifesto.
Rosie the Riveter was also a part of the feminist movement that put women into the workforce and broke the stigma of women working outside the home. According to PEOPLE, during the war women made up 65 percent of the industry’s total workforce, compared to just 1 percent in the pre-war years.
As the men came back from the war, it was expected that the women would return to their lives in the home. Some women did go back to their home lives, but others refused. From that time forward, women have become an integral part of the American workforce.