National Rosie the Riveter Day in the United States Date in the current year: March 21, 2022

National Rosie the Riveter Day in the United States National Rosie the Riveter Day is a U.S. observance held on March 21. It was created to raise awareness of and celebrate millions of women who filled gaps in the labor force during World War II, working to support the military effort.

Rosie the Riveter is an allegorical representation of all women who worked during World War II, doing what used to be stereotyped as “men’s work”. Millions of women took jobs to replace men who fought in the war; they worked in factories and shipyards, helping produce munition and work supplies.

Nearly 19 million women worked during World War II throughout the United States; three million of them entered the workforce during the war. A lot of women who stepped up to fill positions that were traditionally filled by men realized that these jobs provided them with autonomy they enjoyed.

The government even launched a propaganda campaign, encouraging women to get war jobs (unfortunately, it was reversed in the later years of the war, when the victory of the Allied Forces seemed assured; women were urged to “return to normalcy” and go back to being housewives as their husbands came back home from the war).

The term “Rosie the Riveter” originated in an eponymous song written by John Jacob Loeb and Redd Evans in 1942. It portrays a tireless assembly line worker helping the American war effort. The next year, an illustration by Norman Rockwell portraying Rosie the Riveter was featured on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post dedicated to Memorial Day.

Interestingly, one of the most famous posters associated with Rosie the Riveter, J. Howard Miller’s “We Can Do It!” (pictured above), became tied to her years after the war as the poster was rediscovered in the early 1980s. During the war, it was displayed exclusively to women working at Westinghouse Electric to encourage them to work harder, and had no connection to Rosie the Riveter. Feminists reclaimed the poster as an embodiment of female empowerment upon its rediscovery.

The image of Rosie the Riveter is credited with inspiring a social movement that helped increase the number of working women in the United States during the war. Many of these women proved to themselves and others that they could do what was thought of as a “man’s job” and could do it just as well as most men did. Although a lot of women were laid off from their factory jobs after the war, the “Rosies” had already proven that working in factories was actually an option for women.

Rosie the Riveter Day was first proclaimed by a resolution of the U.S. Senate as a one-off observance in 2017. Since then, it hasn’t been observed consistently, and some institutions have chosen to observe it in May or June. However, March 21 is the most widely accepted date of Rosie the Riveter Day.

Although National Rosie the Riveter Day isn’t a national holiday, unlike Veterans Day or Memorial Day, its message is just as important. World War II brought upon a major shift for women in the workplace. In addition to the war effort, it was the beginning of a new era for American feminism and gender equality.

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Other Observances

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USA

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National Rosie the Riveter Day in the United States, observances in the United States, World War II, Rosie the Riveter, war effort