Remembering Mary Doyle Keefe: Model for “Rosie the Riveter”, Icon of Female Empowerment.
Mary Doyle Keefe, model for “Rosie the Riveter,” passed away at the age of 92. Originally featured on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post in May of 1943, Rosie the Riveter has experienced several iterations, each symbolizing the same ideal: women’s empowerment.
During WWII, Keefe’s image was used in a national propaganda campaign encouraging women to enter the workforce to fill some of the many positions left open by men after the draft. Famously depicted flexing her right arm below the slogan, “We Can Do It!” Rosie became a cultural icon and inspired thousands of women, whose contributions to the war effort were essential to victory.
Many of these “real-life Rosies” enjoyed the independence offered by working outside the home. As a result, many chose to maintain their jobs after the war ended, and the rates of women in the workforce never returned to their pre-wartime numbers.
The image of “Rosie the Riveter” remains a symbol of strength and independence, and continues to inspire women more than seventy years later!