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The role of women in American history has evolved a great deal over the past few centuries. In less than a hundred years, the role of women has moved from housewife to highly paid corporate executive to political leader. As events in history have shaped the present world, one can find hidden in such moments, pivotal points that catapult destiny into an unforeseen direction. This paper will examine one such pivotal moment, fashioned from the fictitious character known as ‘Rosie the Riveter’ who represented the powerful working class women during World War II and how her personification has helped shape the future lives of women.


To understand the significant changes within the role of women, it’s important to look at the position women held in society prior to World War II. In a famously quoted ruling by the United States Supreme Court in a case denying a woman’s right to practice law, the following excerpt penned by the Honorable Joseph P. Bradley in 1873 sums up how women were perceived during that period of time by their male counterparts. Bradley declared, "The paramount destiny and mission of women are to fulfill the noble and benign offices of wife and mother -- this is the law of the Creator" . While many women may agree that the role of wife and mother is a noble one, most would certainly not agree this position would define their destiny.

As many women took on a domestic role during this era, by the turn of the century women were certainly not strangers to the work force. As the developing American nation altered the lives of its citizens, both men and women found themselves struggling economically and migrated into cities to find work in the emerging industrialized labor movement . Ho...

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Siebel, Julia M., Remembering the Riveter. Organization of American Historians. OAH Newsletter, p. 15. 2005

Sorensen, Aja, Rosie the Riveter: Women Working during World War II. Retrieved from, (n.d.)

Triche, Warren, 'Rosie the Riveter' reminder of women's history. Retrieved from, 2011.

U.S. Supreme Court Center, Bradwell v. State of Illinois. Retrieved from,, 2011.

Williams, Timothy, Geraldine Doyle, Iconic Face of World War II Dies at 86. New York Times Retrieved from 2010.
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