By CoinWeek News Staff ….
On February 2, California Representative Jackie Speier (D-CA14) introduced the Rosie the Riveter Congressional Gold Medal Act to Congress. The bill (H.R. 4912) seeks to recognize the women who helped win World War II by leaving their regular lives and joining the workforce–often in factory jobs typically performed by men–to produce much-needed equipment and war materiel. According to the Act, a single gold medal will be awarded collectively and given to the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History – though it may be displayed at other pertinent historical locations.
At the time of publication, the legislation has five cosponsors: one republican and four democrats.
The bill simply states that the medal be struck with “suitable emblems, devices, and inscriptions”. One might expect that the medal would feature a version of the Westinghouse Company poster created by J. Howard Miller in 1942–the famous “We Can Do It!” poster of a woman in both makeu-up and work clothes pulling up her sleeve and showing off her biceps. However, this particular poster was only called “Rosie the Riveter” later on, and was originally intended to boost the morale of all workers in Westinghouse factories, not just women.
Perhaps a better claim to the “title” belongs to American artist Norman Rockwell’s May 1943 cover for The Saturday Evening Post. Rockwell’s painting casts a curly-haired redhead as “Rosie” (the name is even written on her lunch box), also bedecked in make-up and work clothes but here she is shown with tinted safety goggles and an actual rivet gun.
Nevertheless, it is the Westinghouse poster that remains the stereotypical “Rosie” image today.
Should the bill pass, artists working for the United States Mint will be commissioned to produce prospective designs. The legislation makes no reference to review by either the Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) or the Citiznes Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC). Three-inch and 1 5/16-inch bronze medals will be available for purchase on the Mint’s website shortly after the original gold medal is struck and the presntation ceremony is held.
The widget below (courtesy of govtrack.us) tracks the bill’s progress through the House, Senate and beyond.
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