The Jobs to Move America coalition and the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy are hosting a wonderful exhibit called, Women Can Build: Re-envisioning Rosie, at Los Angeles’ Union Station that highlights the images and stories of “modern day Rosies.”
The stunning photos were taken by Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Deanne Fitzmaurice, and feature 15 women who work on trains, buses, and for public transit agencies. Additionally, hanging among the modern-day Rosies, are also rare, historic photographs of WWII-era “Rosie the Riveter” manufacturing workers and new research by the University of Southern California’s Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE) on the American transit manufacturing industry.
The purpose and intent of “Re-invisioning Rosie” is explained on the Women Can Build website:
During WWII when men left for war, American women filled a labor shortage, and filled jobs traditionally held by men. The iconic image of Rosie the Riveter was born, a strong capable woman, able to swing a hammer just like a man. Rosie the Riveter, and the countless women who came after her, show that women are capable of anything they set their minds to. The Women Can Build campaign aims to bring awareness to the hardworking and capable women who are building America’s 21st century transportation.
Today, women make up just 13% of the American transportation manufacturing industry workforce. The team behind Women Can Build hopes to improve this statistic and put more “Rosies” on the production line. You can join the effort in urging companies to recruit and train more women workers here.
Women Can Build: Re-envisioning Rosie delivers a compelling and powerful message… that women can – want to – and do build!
Here are a few of our favorite photos and excerpts from the exhibit. You can view more here.
Chancy Davis is the only woman welder at the New Flyer Industries bus factory in St. Cloud, Minnesota.
“For me personally, I can’t sit behind a desk — I’ve got to be moving and doing something. I found that this, along with my good attention to detail, made welding a right fit for me.”
Lilla Wallace is a cleaning specialist at a railcar refurbishment facility in Los Angeles, CA.
“I was born and raised in Los Angeles. I was recently working at a salon doing hair, but the salon closed. So I was hired by a cleaning company called Macadi, which is now changing to Hallcon. They’re contracted to clean the Metrolink trains.”
Brenda Martinez Shroeder is an audit line worker at the New Flyer Industries bus factory in St. Cloud, MN.
“Brenda was born in Guatemala and lived in California before moving to Willmar, MN, where she met her husband Jeff. They are proud members of the Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 7304. Brenda first found work at a chicken-processing plant called a Gold’n Plump, and now works on the “audit line” part of the New Flyer factory which quality-checks subcomponents of the buses.”
Ruby Diaz a quality control technician at the Kinkisharyo railcar factory in Palmdale, CA.
“Ruby is 21 years old, born and raised in Palmdale. Her parents are from Mexico and little by little, her extended family came to the Antelope Valley. Her dad fixes cars and RVs, so he showed her some mechanical and electrical skills, growing up. ‘When I was little, I learned how to fix stuff, I had my own little motor scooter,’ she says.”
Stacey Corcoran is an electrician at the Nippon Sharyo railcar manufacturing facility in Rochelle, IL.
“She is 53 years old, and has been building trains for 24 years. She began working at the Nippon Sharyo railcar factory when it opened, 2 ½ years ago. ‘I was the only one that walked into this brand new facility, that could step in and build,’ she says.”
Ami Rasmussen is an interior assembly foreman at the Kinkisharyo railcar factory in Palmdale, CA.
“Ami is also the mother of two daughters, ages 17 and 15 years. ‘My girls are absolutely the most important thing to me,’ Ami says. ‘I’m a single mom, so everything revolves around them. Both of them are going to college on scholarships, fingers crossed!'”
All images ©Deanne Fitzmaurice and republished here with express permission.