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Economic Empowerment: Honoring Rosie the Riveter on Independence Day

July 6, 2018

Happy Independence Day! I hope you all had a terrific day. This past July 4th I was contemplating America’s history and the role of women in our history, as well as the history of VAWA. It is vital to see where we have been and where we are going.

My husband and I, thrilled to be in our Nation’s Capital for Independence Day, decided to take a walk around the National Mall. At the World War II memorial (which is spectacular) we saw about 30 women dressed up like Rosie the Riveter, who were part of the Willow Run Rosie the Riveter Lunchbox Drill Team. As you know, between 1940 to 1945, during World War II, many women entered the workforce in America. While men were enlisting there were huge gaps in the industrial labor force. Rosie the Riveter was the star of a campaign aimed at recruiting female workers for the defense industry.

The aviation industry saw the greatest increase in female workers. Many women were recruited to work at the Willow Run Bomber Plant in Detroit, Michigan. These patriotic women of all ages, many of whom had never so much as wielded a hammer before, learned to rivet, weld, and fold parachutes… and built airplanes, tanks and more… as they powered the “Arsenal of Democracy.” These pioneering “Rosies” proved that women could do a man’s job, and do it well, and paved the way for the workplace diversity we enjoy today. My new friends had come to the Nation’s Capital to support the bomber plant in Detroit and honor the women who had supported this country when called upon.

So much of what you – our brave law enforcement officers, prosecutors, victim service providers, nurses, judges, teachers, volunteers, and others on the front lines – do is geared toward helping women find economic independence, a crucial element of surviving domestic violence. OVW grantees provide job training and financial literacy training. Our wonderful grantees also provide housing with wrap around services to survivors and their children. Providing safety planning helps survivors and their families escape abuse. Attorneys assist survivors in securing orders of protection. All of these services are critical to empowering survivors to help them safely forge new paths, like Rosie the Riveter did in the 1940s.

It was such a wonderful experience, meeting my friends from Detroit. I wanted to share this message with you. Have a safe and happy weekend. Thank you for all you do.


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Updated January 20, 2021