U.S. Sen. Bob Casey Jr. announced Senate passage of his bipartisan legislation to honor American women who joined the workforce 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 these “Rosie the Riveters” 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.
Casey’s effort was joined by Sen. Susan Collins and Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick and Jackie Speier.
“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,” Fitzpatrick said. “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 Sen. Casey for his partnership on this important legislation.”
“I started this effort in the 1980s because people didn’t know how important women were to the war,” said Krier, who has advocated on behalf of her fellow Rosies for decades. “After the war the men would say they would not have won without the women and what we made, but over time, people did not know that. Millions of women dropped everything to assist however we could. It was our job, not your job or my job. It was not about Democrats or Republicans. It was about saving the country. We made the country realize that women are capable. So I set a goal to make sure we were recognized. I was afraid we wouldn’t make history, but now our hard work has paid off. I thank Sen. Casey, Sen. Collins, Rep. Fitzpatrick and Rep. Speier for their dedication to recognizing all of the Rosies.”
The percentage of women in the workforce jumped from 27 percent to nearly 37 percent from 1940 to 1945. By the end of the war, nearly one out of every four married women worked outside the home. These “Rosie 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.