From 1940 to 1944, 8 million women entered the work force. Their mission: to produce the munitions, ships, planes and other support required to defeat the Japanese and Germans in WWII. Their emblem was a determined-looking lady in blue overalls flexing her right bicep. She wore red knee socks, work boots and a red bandana with white polka dots. They called her Rosie the Riveter, and she helped change the world.
On August 15, 2015 in Richmond, CA, more than a thousand women of all ages gathered to celebrate Rosie’s legacy of can-do feminism. The gathering set a new world record for “The Largest Gathering of People Dressed as a Rosie the Riveter” (to be officially confirmed by Guinness World Records next month). Event organizer Sue Fritzke spoke for the original Rosies when she said, “We want the young women attending today to know that they can do anything they set their minds to.”
The event also commemorated the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. The Richmond shipyards spearheaded the effort to turn the tide of the war. They built as many as three ships a day — more than any other West Coast shipyard. Today, the locations are part of the Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park. The park includes a Rosie memorial that sits on the former grounds of Shipyard #2.
Among the people attending the rally was Kay Morrison, 92, who served as a journeymen welder in the Richmond yards. When Morrison addressed the crowd at the event, she sought to connect the opportunity she was given during the war with the ongoing struggle for equal rights. “Equal pay for equal work should be for everyone,” Morrison said. “It’s very important for young women to know that if they work hard, they can do anything that they want to.”
The sculpture that was unveiled at the event and presented in the video is “Can Do!” by sculptor Seward Johnson. @2015 The Seward Johnson Atelier, Inc.