The poster of a young woman in a factory uniform and red polka dot head kerchief, her arm flexed to show off her muscle with a speech balloon stating boldly, “We can do it!” was designed to encourage young woman to volunteer for the war effort while men were serving overseas.
Eventually 6 million women would heed the call and enter the workforce during the war years.
The image of Rosie the Riveter, itself inspired by a Norman Rockwell painting of the same name, became an instant classic and was later adopted by the women’s rights movements of the 1960s and 1970s.
There was also a 1942 song called “Rosie the Riveter” that paid homage to the women who worked during the war. Many women claimed to be the inspiration for Rosie and indeed there were film shorts and photographs that documented the phenomenon of women working on ballistics, airplanes and bombs.
Read the full article in the December 30, 2010 edition of the New York Daily News.