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Rosie The Riveter - The Image of Women Who Fought in World War Ii

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Traditions would be questioned, debated, and torn to pieces. The way of life once sacred and unquestioned would now be the springboard to a new and improved platform. Women’s rights, women in the workforce, women in war, women having any kind of job or occupation that is usually held by a man was uncommon and almost unheard of before this time period. WWII didn’t just fight for a country’s freedom; it fought a war on a whole new front: the home front. There were many who were thought to be her, but it was the idea of Rosie the Riveter that really impacted the United States. Rosie the Riveter was the face of the United States during WWII because she produced the thought that women were more than objects.

There were many women thought to be the face of Rosie the Riveter. Almost every woman in America was what Rosie stood for–hardworking, determined, low to middle class, everyday women fighting to save their homes and families, put food on the table, and help win a war. Rosie the Riveter was thought to be the face of Naomi Parker Fraley, Rosalind P. Walter, and Geraldine Hoff Doyle, just to name a few. But really, Rosie was the face of every woman in the United States. Rosie the Riveter wasn’t just an iconic figure; she became the foundation of a new generation of women.

On the heels of WWI, WWII took a recovering country and flipped it upside down once again. The draft took veterans and industry workers, all of whom being male, causing a significant decrease in production of goods and wartime supplies. The women, most of whom had either lived through the first world war or were born during the repercussions of it, knew they couldn’t survive another wartime without stepping in to make a difference. WWI and WWII were so intensely different from one another due to the advancements of machinery and industry. Men were the workforce of these advancements and the only workforce up to this particular time in history. The exponential need for the continuation of these revenues was dire, and since the majority of the male population was overseas, and the remaining populace was elderly, disabled, or unfit for war, the females of the United States decided to breach a wall that had, before this era, never really been breached. And thus began a revolution of epic proportions, leading the fight for women all over the world, and beginning a change which has never stopped and continues to expand daily in today’s society.

While the industrial and aeronautical companies needed the female employees, there were many other employment areas, such as, construction workers, streetcar “conductorettes”, truck drivers, laboratory technicians, parachute riggers, radio operators, photograph analyzers, testers for newly repaired planes, trainers for anti-aircraft artillery gunners by acting as flying targets, and so, so much more. That is only a sliver of what these women did for their country; some women served out of a sense of patriotism, while others served because they had brothers, husbands, sons, and fathers in the military and wanted to support the troops through whatever means available to them. Unfortunately, a great many more served and went to work because they lost their only form of support at home and needed the income these opportunities provided them.

The war had changed everything including the course of women’s lives throughout the rest of history; though women had proven themselves more than capable of holding a man’s position and title, society still was not willing to accept this new generation of women into life after the war. America needed them to step up to fill the men’s shoes after they left but expected them to step down willingly when the men returned home. They did their part, whatever it was, well, and most of them did it better than the boys did. The socioeconomic status of these resilient and strong women who fought just as hard as the male soldiers did not change even though society had no reason to not accept these women into the social norm. The Rosie the Riveters of the war fought for a country that refused to recognize their sacrifices, tears, and contributions. And, according to General Eisenhower, he believed that the United States could not win the war without the aid of women.

World War II ended on September 2, 1945. Men were returning home to their wives, mothers, sisters, and daughters surprised to find their former docile housewives as raging warriors. As more men returned, more women lost their jobs and were replaced. For six years, America depended on women for the success of the war. For six years, women were finally somebody important, and now, they were nothing again because their services “were no longer needed.” Many women wanted to keep their jobs and new roles in society. These females were referred to as “unlovely women,” “lost,” “ridden with guilt complexes,” “man-hating,” and another derogatory phrase that is inappropriate for a school paper. Women who remained in the workforce were usually demoted or so low on the totem pole that it wouldn’t make a difference if they had a job or not.

In 1944, the U.S. Women’s Bureau surveyed women and found that 75 percent planned to keep working after the war, and 84 percent wanted to keep their manufacturing jobs. Furthermore, surveys conducted during WWII “consistently found that the overwhelming majority of women war workers intended to continue working after the war and to stay in the same line of work.” However, women were forced or pressured out, and a year after the end of the war, three and a half million women had voluntarily or involuntarily left the workforce. Slowly, though, more women were seen in the labor force because of economic convenience, desire to buy more consumer products, or economic necessity. For the employers that would hire them, some went back simply because of the satisfaction it brought them.

Regardless of the fact that women did men’s jobs and did it better than them, female workers rarely ever made fifty percent of what their male counterparts earned. It didn’t matter how long they had been working at that facility or how well they did their job or even how much they were liked–and they were hardly ever liked, especially by their male employers– it was frowned upon for them to be treated fairly. Women could build aircrafts and other military machinery, pilot a plane in the pitch black knowing where to go solely from memory, bomb enemy targets without giving up so much as a gust of wind to disclose their arrival, take care of things at home and in the factories, and tackle any other obstacle, but it was frowned upon for them to earn the same wages.

Though men had reclaimed their positions in society, they could no longer hold superiority over women. Women had proved themselves capable of doing anything a man could do while enjoying and flourishing in their freedom. Between 1940 and 1944 divorce rates rose from 16 per 100 marriages to 27 per 100 marriages. In 1940, 1 in 6 marriages ended in divorce, but after the war, in 1946, when women had a newfound confidence and point of view, 1 in 4 marriages ended in divorce. Coincidence or not, women’s untraditional and empowered attitudes probably did not make some of their husbands very happy. For the next twenty years, women started to fight another war. A war for nontraditional careers, equal pay, and equal rights.

In WWII, the lack of men caused by the draft–but some signed up willingly– caused the women to have to fill their places. Women became many things during this time including soldiers, workers, sole providers of the home, and the list could go on. They were quite good at what they did, and most of them did their jobs better than their male coworkers. Women enjoyed what they did and wanted to continue doing it after the war was over. Men returned, and women lost their jobs, but the war changed the course of women’s lives from that point on. The overall success of the war was definitely dependent on these brave, courageous women. Women’s roles in society today would be vastly different had the women of that era not been crucial to the Allied Powers’ victory.

The iconic image of Rosie encouraged many women on the homefront to follow their dreams and reach potentials they probably never thought they could attain. Rosie the Riveter was the very face of courage, endurance, and perseverance for thousands of women on the homefront, but there were women on the battlefront, and one in particular, fought the war on her own terms: as a spy.

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Rosie the Riveter – the Image of Women Who Fought in World War II. (2022, July 07). GradesFixer. Retrieved January 26, 2023, from
“Rosie the Riveter – the Image of Women Who Fought in World War II.” GradesFixer, 07 Jul. 2022,
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