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Rosie the Riveter

Carhartt Coveralls

Before the war, the majority of the workforce was made up of men. So, when the war began, women entered roles men had left behind—especially roles in factories. At this point in time, most women hadn’t held jobs of their own: they tended to their children and domestic upkeep. In order to encourage women to leave their home base and seek manufacturing jobs, the U.S. Office of the War printed and dispensed imagery meant to inspire female’s sense of patriotism. J. Howard Miller’s 1942 “Rosie the Riveter” was the most popular and successful propaganda. Though there is speculation about who the real Rosie is, if she existed, it is often believed that the drawing was part of the Westinghouse Electric Corporation’s production campaign to attract female workers. As a result, the percentage of females in the workforce increased from 27% in 1940 to 37% by 1945. There were two million women working industrial jobs at the war’s height. A particularly large chunk of women worked in the aviation space, and the industry boasted from more than 310,00 workers in the duration of the War. The image of “Rosie,” though, does not accurately capture the vast diversity of the female workforce during the 1940’s. More than half a million black women held factory jobs alongside railroads, in shipyards, and in administrative offices to support themselves and their nation.At first, black women were barred from entering the workplace. White men refused to hire them. Then in 1941, thanks to the work of activist Mary McLeod Bethune, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 8802, which banned hiring based discrimination in the industrial industry. Once black women were allowed to enter these roles, they still faced an extreme amount of workplace discrimination, but the opportunity provided to be critical for these. These roles helped countless black women leave the south and achieve economic gain. The outfit here depicts the classic “Rosie the Riveter'' ensemble: blue coveralls, a red handkerchief, and goggles. Blue Carhartt overalls were selected in this outfit because of the historical relationship Carhartt has with the wartime preparations. During both World War I and II, Carhartt facilities were loaned to the government as production centers. Coveralls for soldiers and other personnel were made in these centers.