Real-Life Rosie The Riveters: The Factory Women Who Helped The US Win World War II

Published November 11, 2016
Updated February 10, 2017
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Real-Life Rosie The Riveters: The Factory Women Who Helped The US Win World War II
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Even today, 73 years after the creation of the poster that made her famous, most of us can still instantly recognize Rosie the Riveter. The character indeed took root in the American consciousness by evolving beyond its original purpose -- getting women into the factory workforce during World War II -- and soon became a feminist touchstone.

But as important a symbol as Rosie has become, how many of us understand the original context from which she arose?

Did you know, for example, that more than 19 million women worked in essential roles contributing to the war effort, especially in the factories once deemed the domain of men? In aircraft factories, for one, women represented the majority of the workforce by the middle of the war.

And in touring those factories, a handful of photographers left us with some stunning images that now allow us to see these real-life Rosie the Riveters in action.

Next, have a look at the women behind the creation of the famous Rosie the Riveter posters. Then, read up on the eight most bad-ass women of World War II.

John Kuroski
John Kuroski is the editorial director of All That's Interesting. He graduated from New York University with a degree in history, earning a place in the Phi Alpha Theta honor society of history students. An editor at All That's Interesting since 2015, his areas of interest include modern history and true crime.