On Saturday October 14th, while many high schoolers were getting ready for homecoming, another event — equally as important — was occurring at the Eastern Michigan University Convocation Center. There, many women gathered to take the world record for the most Rosie the Riveters in the same place.
Rosie the Riveter is the very famous female riveter (someone who put rivets on planes) who was used in US propaganda meant to empower working women during WWII. She is pictured strong and fierce, proudly proclaiming “We Can Do It!”. Despite the fame surrounding her, many people don’t know the origins of Rosie the Riveter. She was partially based off of Michigan natives Geraldine Hoff Doyle — the model for the famous poster — and Rose Will Monroe, who worked for the Willow Run Bomber Plant in Ypsilanti. Monroe appeared in very popular propaganda films as Rosie the Riveter.
What started as a few women’s experience became a whole nation’s inspiration. Rosie the Riveter became a representation of working women during WWII: a proud showcase of equality between the sexes; a symbol of change. Rosie once again brought the nation together on October 14th, when women from all across America joined together to win the world record.
Among these women are “Original Rosies” who were actual riveters during WWII. In fact, this event brought together the most “Original Rosies” in a long time. We had the fortune to interview some of these amazing women to find out how they were inspired by Rosie the Riveter
“It was inspirational to know that you could do it: that women could do it.” said Original Rosie Mrs. Dotley. “Courage of women” is what Rosie inspired in Mrs. Medwedeff, another Original Rosie.
Rosie the Riveter inspired many to rivet to help with the war efforts. Many Original Rosies agreed that they were
“glad and proud to be helping our soldiers by building the planes that would help win the war.”
The experiences of these strong and proud women is the basis for Rosie the Riveter, and is what brought together many different girls and women together for this world record smashing.
This event was important in the hearts and minds of many women of all ages: it inspired many women across the nation to come together for the ultimate goal of change and equality. Just like Rosie the Riveter inspired change for the women in WWII, Rosie the Riveter inspires change for women today.
This event was partially held to petition a national holiday. According to Debbie Dingell — Michigan’s representative in Congress — this event was held to “both honor [the Original Rosies], and through the conversations… get annual national recognition on March 21st as Rosie the Riveter day” It was also organized to fundraise for the Willow Run Bomber Plant — an original riveting plant where planes were made during WWII: the place where many women worked, including one of the inspirations for Rosie the Riveter.
Because of the rich history in the Yankee Bomber Plant — and the large amount of planes manufactured in Michigan — we felt that we needed to hold the world record for Rosie the Riveter. Michele Callanan, an organizer of this event, said “because we built so many planes, and did so much here in Michigan, we wanted to have the top” when referring to why she organized this event.
Due to all that was resting on us getting the world record for Rosies, the fact that we broke the record with such large margins is amazing.
On Saturday, Oct. 14th, 3,755 women, young and old, came together. With an amazing turnout, we broke the world record by over 1,000 Rosies. Over 3,000 women were united and inspired by Rosie the Riveter; inspired by the symbol of change; inspired because we could do it.