Washington, D.C. –Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-CA) was pleased to join U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) in announcing today their bipartisan, bicameral legislation to honor American women who joined the workforce and volunteered in support of the war effort during World War II was signed into law. The Rosie the Riveter Congressional Gold Medal Act will award a Congressional Gold Medal to the women who answered the Nation’s call to action and learned new skills, many building the vehicles, weaponry and ammunitions that were critical to the war effort.
Congresswoman Speier, Co-Chair of the Democratic Women’s Caucus, introduced the Rosie the Riveter Congressional Gold Medal Act with Representatives Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Jared Huffman (D-CA), and Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA), and it passed in the U.S. House of Representatives on Nov. 13, 2019. Senator Casey led the companion bill along with U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), which passed in the U.S. Senate on November 12, 2020. Today, President Donald Trump officially signed the bill into law, a fitting celebration that comes just three days before National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day – a day that lives in infamy and marks America’s entry into World War II.
“Today is a banner day for our brave Rosies, who not only answered the call to duty during WWII, but who have fought fiercely and tirelessly for the recognition they so richly deserve, Rep. Speier said. “Their ‘We Can Do It’ spirit that inspired a nation grappling with the hardships of war to rise to the challenge, supercharge the war effort, and achieve victory has also inspired Congress and the White House to finally recognize their monumental contribution to the allied war effort. And the iconic image of Rosie the Riveter will continue to inspire generations of young women across America to blaze new trails for years to come. I’ve had the honor of working alongside real life Rosies like Phyllis Gould, a driving force behind the efforts to gain national recognition for all the Rosies; her sister Marion Sousa, an official volunteer at the Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front National Historical Park in Richmond; Rosie the Riveter Park Ranger Betty Reid Soskin, the oldest active ranger in the National Park Service; and Mae Krier, a fearless Rosie advocate who stepped up during the ongoing pandemic to make Rosie-themed masks. I am thrilled and grateful to see them, and their colleagues, receive the honor and thanks befitting their courage, sacrifice, and immense contributions to our country, just like our other World War II heroes.”
“I am thrilled to see the President sign our Rosie the Riveter Congressional Gold Medal Act into law. This recognition and honor is long overdue and I am proud of the bipartisan and bicameral work that got us here,” said Rep. Fitzpatrick. “The ‘Rosie the Riveters’ embodied the ‘We can do it’ spirit forever connected with the famous poster. Levittown’s Mae Krier was instrumental in the efforts to gain support for our bill. We would not have gotten to this point without Mae’s tireless advocacy for her fellow ‘Rosies’, and I am incredibly proud to represent her in Congress.”
“The ‘Rosies’ who answered the call and supported the war effort are among America’s greatest heroines. These ‘Rosie the Riveters’ were the linchpin of our wartime efforts at home, and I’m glad this bill to honor them has finally become law,” said Rep. Huffman. “The sacrifices and incredible contributions of these Rosies, some of whom I have been privileged to represent here in Congress, continue to inspire the generations who have followed in their footsteps.
“The impact Rosies had, both on the home front effort in World War II and for the future of women in the workforce, continues to be felt today. I am proud that the Rosie the Riveter National Historic Site in Richmond serves as a lasting reminder of their legacy, and I am pleased to join my colleagues in making sure these sheroes are remembered and recognized for their contributions to our country,” said Congressman Mark DeSaulnier.
“Millions of women helped support our troops during WWII, whether they worked on assembly lines, addressed the troops’ medical needs or tended to ships and farms. These ‘Rosie the Riveters’ have set an example of the ‘We Can Do It’ spirit for decades, and this recognition of their tremendous service and patriotism is long overdue,” said Senator Casey. “I am glad to announce that the Rosie the Riveter Congressional Gold Medal Act is now law and I am grateful to my colleagues in the Senate and the House of Representatives for their partnership in moving this legislation forward.”
“This bipartisan legislation to award a Congressional Gold Medal to the 16 million ‘Rosie the Riveters’ will provide a long-overdue recognition of these incredible women who stepped up in a time of great need,” said Senator Collins. “During World War II, mothers, wives, and daughters answered our nation's call to action by working tirelessly in factories, farms, shipyards, airplane factories, and other institutions in support of our Armed Forces. Their hard work, dedication, and 'We Can Do It' spirit has inspired many future generations of women.”
The percentage of women in the workforce jumped from 27 percent to nearly 37 percent between 1940 and 1945. 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 percent of its workforce.