Conference honors women who served at home during World War II
RICHMOND, Calif. (KTVU) - Over the weekend, the women who helped fight the war on the home front during World War II gathered for their annual meeting. Rosie the Riveter wasn't just one woman. She was every woman who did a so-called "man's job" in the war effort.
"I didn't want to sit around in an office all day. That drove me nuts," said Kay Morrison. "So that's why I get my rivet gun and get out there and climb all over the airplane!"
The "Rosies" were riveters, draftspersons, and welders. They helped build warplanes and ships.
"I didn't even know what a welder was," said one woman laughing. "I could still work if they need a riveter," Arlene Crary said said, flexing her muscle in a Rosie the Riveter pose.
The women joined the effort in their late teens and twenties.
"We were young and adventurous," said Marian Wynn. "And we decided we'd just go for it!" Now, they're in their nineties, and their numbers are dwindling. "I didn't think we'd be this popular 70-years later," joked Marjorie Walters.
The Rosie the Riveter campaign told women to "do the job he left behind". The women who did were the tip of the spear of the Equal Rights and Women's Equality movements.
"We changed the way women lived and worked," Wynn said proudly. "Who would have thought about a woman being a welder?" "We had equal pay for equal work 70-years ago," Morrison said sternly. "We don't have it today yet!"
The women said there's a difference between then and now.
"We wanted to get the ships built," Anges Moore remembered. "So we could give our boys wheat they needed to fight with." Morrison chimed in, "It was our mission to get these troops home!"
Hughlene Stokes said World War II brought the United States together.
"It (the U.S.) never will ever have it again, will they?" she asked. "It's too bad too, because we sure need it desperately."