Following the start of World War II in 1939, there was a huge depletion of the industrialized workforce. As men left their positions to enlist in the army, the need grew for women to fill the void by joining the job market.
Enter Rosie the Riveter: A powerful character created for a Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Company work incentive poster, and later used in a government campaign for recruiting women to join the munitions industry. Her iconic image initially evoked feelings of strength and patriotism. Today, she continues to be recognized as the first to shine a positive, encouraging light on women in the workforce.
Redd Evans and John Jacob Loeb’s 1943 hit song “Rosie the Riveter” secured the fictional character’s spot as a household name. Rosie, along with endorsements from Eleanor Roosevelt, helped increase the number of women in the munitions and aviation industries, as well as the armed forces. By 1945, almost one in four American women held income-earning jobs. Rosie continues to be referenced by feminist groups as a symbol of persistence, defiance and fortitude—the essence of empowerment.