The Woman Behind “Rosie the Riveter”

Rachael Rutherford, Reporter

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Equality. It is something that America still struggles to achieve sometimes, but some would say there’s been huge strides. With this, some people are more credited than others.

“As a kid, I always looked at the famous Rosie the Riveter poster,” junior Hannah Sweet said. “It didn’t seem like much but she really represented women empowerment, and well enough that kids could see it.”

The famous “Rosie the Riveter” poster. (Credit: MPI/Getty Images)

“Rosie the Riveter” was an enormous icon for the women’s movement in the United States during World War II. Over the years she has continued to empower women throughout the country and serve as a positive symbol of feminism.

“After the Great Depression when everything went downhill, she was an icon for women everywhere,” Sweet said. “After that, it just never really stopped. She was a true legend.”

The woman behind the poster was not named Rosie, not even close. California native, Naomi Parker Fraley was the subject of a photo taken while she took up the role of a working man in that time. However, she was not credited with her influence until 2015. Even after that, she didn’t want any fame or stardom, only for the credit to be corrected.

“I think that her true character really showed through that action,” junior Olivia Hawkins said. “The fact that she only wanted her name to be corrected and no other reward really shows how empowering she really is.”

Over the years, women have gained many more equal rights than we once had, some that were once unimaginable. In addition to this, women have broken stereotypes and gender roles. Women are now doctors, scientists, in the military, and so much more, as opposed to just housewives or school teachers.

“Women have made incredible progress,” Hawkins said. “It honestly makes me proud to say I could be a part of that.”

Naomi Parker Fraley in the original photo that inspired “Rosie the Riveter.” (Credit: Bettmann Archive/Getty Images)

Without people to influence the movement, women would without a doubt not be where they are today. For that, we have people like Naomi Parker Fraley to thank. Unfortunately, only about two years after her correct recognition, Fraley passed away on January 20, 2018.         

“It makes me really sad to hear that she passed away, especially so soon after finally being recognized for what she did,” Sweet said. “No matter what though, the legacy that she left behind and her attitude about the whole situation makes me really excited to see what our generation could do in the future.”

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The Woman Behind “Rosie the Riveter”