She Could Do It: The ‘Real’ Rosie the Riveter Dies

The “real” Rosie the Riveter—one of six million women who worked in factories and shipyards during World War II—has died at 96.
  • Iconic Poster: Naomi Parker Fraley was identified as the model for the iconic 1943 poster depicting a young worker wearing blue coveralls and a red-and-white polka dot bandana, with her sleeve rolled up to reveal her flexed bicep.
  • “We Can Do It”: The slogan on the poster—“We Can Do It”—says it all. These female factory workers built the planes, tanks, bombs, and munitions that won World War II.
  • Inspiring New Generations: Originally displayed by Westinghouse at its defense plants, this poster was rediscovered during the early 1980s, inspiring new generations of women in their fights for raises, rights, and respect.
    • Identifying the “Real” Rosie: After several credible contenders were reported to be the inspirations for the iconic poster, the scholar James J. Kimble identified Fraley from a photograph. She worked at a machine shop at the Naval Air Station in Alameda, California, during the war, and later worked in a restaurant in Palm Springs.
  • Her Legacy: “I didn’t want fame or fortune,” Fraley said in 2016. “But I did want my own identity.” She died on January 20, as hundreds of thousands of women rallied for the fairness and dignity still denied them, from the White House to their workplaces.