Flexing a powerful bicep, cultural icon Rosie the Riveter has reminded women, "we can do it," since World War II. Yet, a recent report by the National Women's Law Center shows that the percentage of female workers, like Rosie, in the manufacturing sector has steadily decreased in the past three years.
This trend conflicts with the job growth fueled by U.S. manufacturers, thanks to attentive policymakers who were eager to boost the country's economy. In "Still No Recovery for Women in the Manufacturing Sector," the NWLC states that policymakers should ensure that women share in this industry's employment growth.
"The government, community-based organizations,community colleges, employers, and unions must work together to ensure that women have equal employment opportunities in manufacturing occupations," reads the report's conclusion. "The government should increase its enforcement of nondiscrimination mandates to help combat the barriers that women face in nontraditionalfields (gender stereotypes, discriminatory employmentpractices and sexual harassment, for example), and continue to hold federally funded vocational training programs accountable for serving women innontraditional fields."
As demonstrated by a collection of photographs found in the Library of Congress, women have played integral roles in the U.S. manufacturing industry for decades. Female workers were encouraged to join the work force during World War II through inspiring and motivational images, such as Rosie the Riveter. The images below memoralize the efforts and labor conributed by women manufacturing workers throughout this country's history, and make a strong case for recruiting more today.
Images: Library of Congress