Washington, DC – To kick off Women’s History Month, a bicameral group of bipartisan lawmakers led by Representatives Jackie Speier (D-CA), Jared Huffman (D-CA), and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), along with Senators Bob Casey (D-PA), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Christopher Coons (D-DE) and 53 other members of Congress, have introduced a Congressional Resolution (H.Res. 162) to designate March 21st, 2017, as ‘National Rosie the Riveter Day,’ a national day of recognition for the millions of women who supported the war effort on the home front during World War II.
The ‘National Rosie the Riveter Day’ would honor the vital contributions that were made by countless American women of all backgrounds during World War II who, with millions of American men deployed overseas, joined the workforce in increasing numbers and took on new roles previously held by men.
“The iconic Rosie the Riveter image and the phrase ‘We Can Do It’ continues to inspire generations of young women across America. But Rosie is more than an inspirational poster girl,” Rep. Jackie Speier said. “Rosie embodied the women in our country who answered the call to action in World War II by providing the weaponry and ammunition that literally ended the war. And they were paid the same as men! After working on this initiative since 2014, it is only fitting that we finally honor the service of these 6 million women with a much deserved national day of recognition.”
“The ‘Rosies’ helped our nation win World War II, and inspired generations who continue to follow in their footsteps, knowing that women can do anything that men can do,” Rep. Huffman said. “The changing roles of women in the workforce during the war forced us to look at child care and health care in a new way, and increased the momentum toward equal rights — a fight that continues today. We owe the Rosies a great debt, and must continue to recognize them as the American heroes that they are.”
“Throughout our nation’s history, countless Americans have answered the call to service during times of conflict and turmoil. During World War II, women across the country – and across our district - left their homes for factory jobs in support of the war effort: Working as riveters, buckers, welders, and electricians. These ‘Rosie the Riveters’ embodied the ‘We can do it’ spirit forever connected with them by Norman Rockwell’s iconic painting,” said Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick. “As we mark the contributions and triumphs of women this Women’s History Month, I’m proud to join the effort to recognize these home-front heroes with a National Rosie the Riveter Day.”
“Women known collectively as "Rosie the Riveter" during and after World War II were brave and dedicated women of all colors and backgrounds who stepped up to do an enormous number of jobs on the Home Front in order to help America win the war,” said Marsha Mather-Thrift, Executive Director, Rosie the Riveter Trust. “With so many men called to fight oversees, these women demonstrated top-flight ability to learn new skills and excel in new fields, often in spite of prejudice. They changed the workplace for women forever, and men and women owe them an enormous debt of gratitude. In the eloquent words of one Rosie, which are inscribed in stone at the Rosie the Riveter Memorial in Richmond California, "without us, there would have been no spring in 1945."
Between 1940 and 1945, the percent of women in the American workforce jumped from 27% to nearly 37%, and by the end of the war, nearly one out of every four married women worked outside the home. These ‘Rosie the Riveters’ took positions across various industries, but the aviation industry saw the biggest increase of female workers – with more than 310,000 working in the aircraft industry in 1943, representing 65% of its workforce.
Phyllis Gould, 95, of Fairfax, CA, was one of the first six women to work as Navy-certified journeyman welders at the Kaiser-Richmond shipyards from 1942-45. Over the last eight years she has personally met with Vice President Joe Biden, written to Presidents Obama and Trump, Vice President Pence, and spoken with or written to countless Members of Congress in support of a National Rosie the Riveter Day.
A copy of the bill text can be found here.