Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11) joined Congresswoman Jackie Speier (CA-14) and U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) in announcing the Senate’s passage of their bipartisan, bicameral legislation to honor American women who joined the workforce and volunteered in support of the war effort during World War II. The Rosie the Riveter Congressional Gold Medal Act would award a Congressional Gold Medal to the women who answered the nation’s call to action and learned new skills, many building the vehicles, weaponry, and ammunitions that were critical to the war effort.
Congressman DeSaulnier joined Representatives Speier, Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01), and Jared Huffman (CA-02) in introducing the Rosie the Riveter Congressional Gold Medal Act last year and it passed in the U.S. House of Representatives on November 13, 2019. Senator Casey led the companion bill along with U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), which passed in the U.S. Senate today.
“Rosies dedicated their lives to the home front effort in World War II and blazed a trail for women in the workforce. As we recognize the contributions of veterans this month, it is fitting that these sheroes be remembered and celebrated as part of the fabric of our country,” said Rep. DeSaulnier.
“During one of the most challenging chapters of American history, our real-life Rosie the Riveters were beacons of hope and patriotism,” said Rep. Speier. “Their ‘We Can Do It’ spirit inspired a nation grappling with the hardships of war to rise to the challenge, supercharge the war effort, and achieve victory. The iconic image of Rosie the Riveter continues to inspire generations of young women across America to blaze new trails. I’ve had the honor of working alongside real life Rosies like Phyllis Gould, a driving force behind the efforts to gain national recognition for all the Rosies, her sister Marion Sousa, an official volunteer at the Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front National Historical Park in Richmond, Rosie the Riveter Park Ranger Betty Reid Soskin, the oldest active ranger in the National Park Service, and Mae Krier, a fearless Rosie advocate who stepped up during the ongoing pandemic to make Rosie-themed masks. I’m thankful to Sen. Casey for his tireless efforts and thrilled that the Senate has joined the House in passing legislation to finally honor our Rosie the Riveters for their courage, sacrifice, and immense contributions to our nation just like our other World War II heroes.”
“I am incredibly happy to see the Senate pass our bipartisan Rosie the Riveter Congressional Gold Medal Act. During World War II, women across our country, and across Pennsylvania, left their homes to work in support of the war effort. These patriots worked as riveters, buckers, welders, and electricians,” said Rep. Fitzpatrick. “These ‘Rosie the Riveters’ embodied the ‘We can do it’ spirit forever connected with the famous poster. I am especially proud to represent Levittown’s Mae Krier, who helped build B-17 and B-29 Bombers during World War II. Mae’s tireless advocacy for her fellow Rosies helped get this legislation through the House and Senate. I would also like to thank Senator Casey for his partnership on this important legislation.”
“The women who answered the call and supported the war effort are among America’s greatest living heroines. These ‘Rosie the Riveters’ were the linchpin of our wartime efforts at home, and I’m glad this bill to honor them is gaining momentum,” said Rep. Huffman. “The sacrifices and tremendous contributions of these Rosies, some of whom I am privileged to represent here in Congress, continue to inspire the generations who have followed in their footsteps — especially now when the country is facing unprecedented challenges.”
“These ‘Rosie the Riveters’ played an invaluable role in our Nation’s efforts during the war. They rose to the challenge and set a powerful example – not only for working women, but for all Americans. Millions of women helped support our troops during WWII, whether they worked on assembly lines, addressed the troops’ medical needs or tended to ships and farms. Today, their example continues to inspire generations to embody the ‘We Can Do It’ spirit. The ‘Rosies’ are among our Nation’s greatest living heroines, and they deserve this long-overdue recognition for their tremendous service to our country,” said Senator Casey.
“This bipartisan legislation to award a Congressional Gold Medal to the 16 million ‘Rosie the Riveters’ will provide a long-overdue recognition of these incredible women who stepped up in a time of great need,” said Senator Collins. “During World War II, mothers, wives, and daughters answered our nation’s call to action by working tirelessly in factories, farms, shipyards, airplane factories, and other institutions in support of our Armed Forces. Their hard work, dedication, and ‘We Can Do It’ spirit has inspired many future generations of women.”
The percentage of women in the workforce jumped from 27 percent to nearly 37 percent between 1940 and 1945. By the end of the war, nearly one out of every four married women worked outside the home. These ‘Rosies the Riveters’ took positions across various industries, but the aviation industry saw the biggest increase of female workers – with more than 310,000 working in the aircraft industry in 1943, representing 65 percent of its workforce.
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