During WWII, women were not allowed to participate in actual combat. They were permitted to join services such as the WAC, Spars and Waves. Their main function on these services was often to free up a man for combat duty. However on the civilian homefront, they played a leading role. Materiel was badly needed to support combat troops overseas. An acute shortage of factory workers forced the recruitment of women to join the workforce. This coupled with the loneliness and/or boredom from a loved one overseas drove women to the defense factories in large numbers. This was a departure from the prevailing norms whereby a womans place was believed to be in the home raising children.

They worked alongside very young men and men too old to serve. The "Rosies" as they were called, often assumed very physically demanding jobs usually held by men. Their dedication to materiel production gave the U.S. the fighting strength it needed to support a two front war. The name Rosie the Riveter, an American icon and part of the vernacular, originated from an aircraft factory worker named Rosina Bonavita. Over time it was used generically to describe any and all of the women working in defense plants. Rosies broke with the traditional view of women in the workplace and in many ways are the foundation of the Womens movement.

There are many different items that can be collected. Examples include lunch boxes, ID cards, sweetheart jewelry, overalls and gloves, certificates and banners. Dame for defense and production collectibles are very desirable and heavily collected.

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