Once women were emboldened and afforded a new opportunity, we never looked back. Women all over the world identify with Rosie for numerous reasons; she encompasses equality, empowerment, encouragement and possibility. Rosie is an image that transcends culture, race, and age among women because all women can identify with some element of what she represents, she is a Shero for us all.
She is us and we are her.
According to the Encyclopedia of American Economic History, "Rosie the Riveter" inspired a social movement that increased the number of working American women from 12 million to 20 million by 1944, a 57% increase from 1940. Although it is just imagined that these Rosie’s only worked in factories, women filled positions in every sector of the economy.
An additional impact to this radical transformation of women was that white and black women began to work alongside one another during this time, which encouraged the breaking down of social barriers and fostered a healthy recognition of diversity.
Just like the iconic Rosie the Riveters, who accepted the challenge of going into the workforce, women continue to make strong advances towards equal rights in all arenas.
So, the legacy of Rosie is alive and well for American Women Nationwide!
There has been a great debate as to who the "real Rosie" is behind the ionic poster. I, Kerri, have had the pleasure of meeting a few living Riveters and shared some great conversations with WWII Sisters-in-service. I love the legacy we have in service because of these brave beauties. I have had the great pleasure of interviewing some and recording Herstory on The Freedom Sisters Podcast. When Shellie and I were dreaming up Shero Talk, the image for the "R" came to me very clearly, and as a woman who has served, I felt it was the perfect crowning jewel to the whole concept.
We want to honor the Rosie behind the Iconic Poster and give truth to the legacy. So, here is a grand example of the power in telling your story and the lasting affect it can have in the world.
It is my great honor to introduce you to Naomi Parker-Fraley . In 1942, a photo showing 20-year-old Parker-Fraley sporting her signature red-and-white-polka-dot bandana and working on a turret lathe, was taken by a photographer touring the Naval Air Station in Alameda, California, and featured in newspapers and magazines nationwide. It was printed from San Francisco to Washington D.C. and Naomi even got fan mail as a result.
It was also believed to have caught the eye of artist J. Howard Miller, whose 1943 Rosie the Riveter poster bears a striking resemblance to her photo, right down to the bandana , but she would spend decades unaware of her connection to the poster, mostly because another woman, in 1980, named Geraldine Hoff Doyle, who worked in a factory in Michigan, had been labeled “the real-life Rosie the Riveter."
Because Hoff Doyle bore a striking resemblance to Parker-Fraley, no one questioned her claim, and her story traveled around the world.
Unitl 2015, when a scholar named James J. Kimble, and his dedicated efforts to solve so many myths surrounding the Ionic Poster. He stumbled upon the original photo (below) with this caption: Pretty Naomi Parker is as easy to look at as overtime pay on the week’s check. And she’s a good example of an old contention that glamor is what goes into the clothes, and not the clothes. Pre-war fashion frills are only a discord in war-time clothing for women. Naomi wears heavy shoes, black suit, and a turban to keep her hair out of harm’s way (we mean the machine, you dope).
Once he sat down with Naomi, she was so relieved to have someone believe her story, she captured the attention of People Magazine in 2016.
Ms. Naomi Parker-Fraley died in 2018 at the age 95, knowing HERstory and her truth shared with the world.
Stories are the core of Shero Talk, your stories; we hope to shed light in the world from women of every background, race, age and profession that will leave lasting legacies for future generations just like "Rosie the Riveter."
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