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Remembering Rosalind Walter, the OG 'Rosie the Riveter'

Rosalind Walter, the original Rosie the Riveter, dies at 95 

Series note: For Women's History month, we'll be featuring hardworking women each week who inspire us daily. From women breaking gender barriers in their fields to women fighting for equal rights, they all embody what Death Wish strives for every day: strength. Sign up for The Scoop to receive updates from this series right in your inbox. 

Throughout life, inspiration can be drawn from a multitude of mediums and experiences; an icon, a song, purpose – even a forward-facing red and white polka-dot bandana. Rosalind Walter, the OG Rosie the Riveter who inspired the hit song, recently passed on March 4. She is an origin of inspiration for women of all walks of life past, present, and many decades into the future. Her impact has been so widespread it isn’t exclusive to just the workforce, and hell, her inspiration isn’t exclusive to women.

Her passion for “making history, working for victory” inspired a generation of women in overalls touting bandana-wearing hair to keep factories running during World War 2, paving the way for women in the workplace.

A photo of the 1940s Rosie the Riveter yellow poster next to Rosalind Walter, the original Rosie the Riveter

Rosalind was a line worker in the war-industry for a very short time before the iconic Rosie the Riveter recruitment posters were made. Eventually leading to the addition of 6-million African American, Asian, Hispanic and white women, working side-by-side. By 1943, 310,000 working women represented 65% of the entire U.S aircraft industry, according to History. This is still widely considered to be one of the best recruitment tools in World history. 

“She’s making history..” and not just by recruitment standards — her inspiration led to the creation of a song that was recorded by a number of artists, most notably Kay Kyser, that almost instantly became a national hit.

The volume of her inspirational actions extends beyond her time spent on the production line. In the late 1980s, in recognition of her history of giving, Rosalind was appointed to WNET’s Board of Directors. To provide context, when WNET produced its 2007-08 Annual Report, it showed Rosalind had donated at least $5,000,000 to the organization — that’s six zeros. 

This week of Women’s History Month is dedicated to Rosalind Walter, the Original Giver of inspiration who we all can — and should — draw from in some fashion of life.

Related: Remembering Katherine Johnson, famed NASA mathematician

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