Rosie the Riveter 1942

Rosie the Riveter was an Idea. The idea was that women were capable and desireable workers who could do jobs traditionally reserved for men.
The image of Rosie the Riveter helped to create a change in the culture in order to fulfill a need. The government wanted to help people change their ideas to support women in the workforce doing jobs men used to do to help the war effort.

They used Rosie the Riveter to project this idea to the general public. In different cities companies sought real women to photograph to represent Rosie the Riveter to the public.

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"Rosie" helped American women overcome several stereotypes:

1) She showed that women could be strong and still remain attractive and feminine
2) She helped to explain the importance of the war effort and the need for women to join the work force
3) She conveyed the idea that this help was temporary so that men would not be threatened by thinking they would lose their jobs to these women--
she was holding their place in the workforce

"Rosie" was a very important "person" in history. Women really were needed in the workforce in order for the country to function and make products during the war. American women were an important resource. The government expressed a number of ideas to women. They wanted to be careful not to cause more problems than they solved. They were afraid if a lot of women came to the workforce and left home, then children may fall into deliquency. They made recommendations that women have their older children care for the family while they were at work.

Women were often reluctant to join the workforce. They had "double duty" if they did because they had to work at home and at the job. Wages were the most convincing reason for women to work. They enjoyed getting the higher wages that men usually received. Women still faced a lot of unfair treatment and discrimination, but during this period in history, women learned they could do work that men were only allowed to do in the past. This was a key factor in dramatic changes in the role of women over the next several decades.

During the war, the "Rosie the Riveter" campaign helped to convince women to work in non-traditional jobs and join the workforce in greater numbers. Many women still held traditional jobs though. The American workforce was severely depleted during the war and every available woman was encouraged to join in the fight by helping to drive the American war machine and provide materials and supplies for fighting men overseas.