Rosie The Riveter Inspires Oklahoma Women To Flex Their Fundraising Muscle
by Brian K. Young
Miela Stephens, President-Elect of NAWIC Tulsa Chapter 76 Region 7, says the World War II cultural icon, Rosie the Riveter, helped “change the way women were perceived – breaking the glass ceiling for females in the workplace.” That’s why Stephens and her fellow NAWIC members chose Rosie as their inspiration for an innovative fundraiser to support the National Education Foundation (NEF) and scholarships for construction students at Oklahoma State University. The calendars also pay tribute to veterans and the men and women in uniform who proudly serve their country today.
The Rosie the Riveter fundraiser will launch March 6 through 12, during the WIC Week celebration of women in construction. The ladies of NAWIC Chapter 76 are honoring Rosie and the working women of yesteryear, by donning costumes reminiscent of the World War II era, for an exciting calendar fundraiser. Proceeds from calendar sales will be split as follows: 40% to the Tulsa Chapter 76 OSU Endowment Scholarship Fund; 40% to NAWIC’s NEF Program to Enhance the Success of Women in the Construction Industry; 10% to TTC Photography Department, for conducting the photo shoot; and 10% to Broken Arrow Beauty College Cosmetology Education Center for styling the hair and makeup of the models. Calendars will go on sale March 7, 2011 at a cost of $20.00 each, and will be distributed at Gardners Books on March 12th. Calendars can also be purchased by email by contacting
. Don’t forget to pick up extra copies to honor the special women, armed service members, and veterans in your life.
President Joani Kelly says this fundraiser revitalized the chapter. Kelly, who joined NAWIC in 1998, was excited when she first heard the idea about a Rosie the Riveter calendar. “It sounded perfect for our organization. It just seemed to fit,” Kelly said. “I’m thrilled to pay tribute to the women of the greatest generation. I’m afraid we’re forgetting about these people. As a country, we need to bring back their memory and never forget what they did for us.” You will find Kelly in the calendar, representing the original Rosie the Riveter poster – fondly remembered for her strong arm, red bandana, and “We Can Do It!” slogan.
Three-time President, Emilie Hins, first became familiar with Rosie the Riveter at a NAWIC National Convention in New York. Hins explains that Rosie represents “the first time in American history that women in mass began working outside the home. Women riveters made airplanes, warships, and tanks… if it hadn’t been for women, this country would have been really poor.” Hins says that she was born into the construction industry. Her father was a tile-setter and her husband works in fire and flood restoration. She feels a personal connection with Rosie because her mom and aunts had to go to work in the fields, harvesting cotton and potatoes, while their men were gone to war. Today Hins encourages young women to consider careers in construction, where she says their salary potential is double that of the average female worker in non-construction industries.
Julie Lovelace, a new member of NAWIC, will be posing in Marine’s gear for the recreation of a classic military recruiting advertisement. Lovelace understands the challenges of working in the construction field where she is frequently the only woman in groups of 20 to 400 people. NAWIC provides her with a connection to other women in the industry. According to Lovelace, “I’m working on a project now with more than 1,000 people and only five are women… I’m looking forward to being involved in NAWIC and getting the word out to other women, that they can work in construction too. They don’t have to swing a hammer to be in construction. There’s room for everyone.”
You can help these women in construction honor their forbearers, pay tribute to our veterans and service members, and pave the way for more females to enter the traditionally male-dominated construction industry. Purchase a calendar for yourself and another for someone who has made a special impact in your life or career. Help spread the word about this incredible fundraiser and you will honor the strength and tenacity of working women yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Most importantly, never forget the legacy of Rosie the Riveter, who empowered women to make a difference with four simple words: “We can do it!”
For more information, contact WIC Week Chair, Miela Stephens, at