From the WaPo
Geraldine Doyle, 86, who as a 17-year-old factory worker became the inspiration for a popular World War II recruitment poster that evoked female power and independence under the slogan “We Can Do It!,” died Dec. 26 at a hospice in Lansing, Mich.
Her daughter, Stephanie Gregg, said the cause of death was complications from severe arthritis.
For millions of Americans throughout the decades since World War II, the stunning brunette in the red and white polka-dot bandanna was Rosie the Riveter.
This was the woman behind the myth. From the WIki…
The term “Rosie the Riveter” was first used in 1942 in a song of the same name written by Redd Evans and John Jacob Loeb. The song was recorded by numerous artists, including the popular big band leader Kay Kyser, and became a national hit. The song portrays “Rosie” as a tireless assembly line worker, doing her part to help the American war effort.
All the day long,
Whether rain or shine
She’s part of the assembly line.
She’s making history,
Working for victory
Rosie the Riveter
Although real-life Rosie the Riveters took on male dominated trades during WWII, women were expected to return to their everyday housework once men returned from the war. Government campaigns targeting women were addressed solely at housewives, perhaps because already employed women would move to the higher-paid “essential” jobs on their own. Most women opted to do this. Later many women chose to return to traditional work such as clerical or administration positions. However, some of these women continued working in the factories.
The individual who was the inspiration for the song was Rosalind P. Walter, who “came from old money and worked on the night shift building the F4U Corsair fighter.” Later in life Walter was a philanthropist, a board member of the WNET public television station in New York and an early and long-time supporter of the Charlie Rose interview show.