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  • Writer's pictureMatilda Butler

When Did Rosie the Riveter File Her Taxes?

Rosie the Riveter and Taxes

I intended to write a blog post yesterday — March 1. Why? That was the beginning of Women’s History Month. But the need to start compiling my tax records used up all my mental space! It was evening before I remembered about the blog post deadline I'd given myself

Oops. I had missed it. 

So today, I put aside the dreaded work on taxes in order to create this message. However, I found myself starting to think about Rosie the Riveter and how she also had to work on her taxes. 

Did Rosie the Riveter pay taxes? 

Of course she did. And the war effort meant Federal income tax rates had gone up. 

War has always been expensive. It was back in WW1 when Congress passed the Revenue Act of 1916 and a follow-on War Revenue Act in 1917. The tax rate on the highest income amounts shot up from 15% in 1916 to 67% in 1917 and finally to 77% in 1918. 


Fortunately, after the war the tax rate dropped to 25% — a rate that lasted from 1925 to 1931. 


 BUT (and there is always a but)… 

... the Great Depression caused Congress to raise tax rates again in 1932. The rate went from 25% to 63% on the top earners.


NOW Here Comes Rosie and World War II

In 1944, the top rate peaked up from 63% to 94% on taxable income over $200,000. What would that be today? $2.5 million.

Fortunately (or unfortunately for Rosie), women working during WW2 never made the big bucks. So they weren’t taxed at that high rate. 

But still, I can imagine that Rosie disliked tax time as much as I do.

Back to Women’s History Month

Rosie the Riveter and Women's History Month
Rosie the Riveter

March is the month to reflect on the role of women over time. So today, I am thinking about the ways that Rosie the Riveter and other women who worked during WW2 influenced the working roles for all women.

During World War II, women were called upon to work in factories and other industries to support the war effort. The iconic figure of Rosie the Riveter represented the many women who worked in traditionally male-dominated jobs and helped to open up new opportunities for women.

Here are some ways in which Rosie the Riveter and other women who worked during WW2 helped to open opportunities for all women:

  • They challenged traditional gender roles. Women's roles in society were often limited to domestic duties and caretaking. However, during the war, women were encouraged to take on new roles and responsibilities, including working in jobs that had previously been reserved for men.

  • They proved that women were capable of doing "men's work." Many people believed that women were not capable of doing the same jobs as men, particularly in fields such as manufacturing and construction. However, women who worked during WW2 proved that they were just as capable as men.

  • They helped to shatter stereotypes about women. Before the war, women were often portrayed in the media as weak and passive. However, Rosie the Riveter and other women who worked during the war were strong, capable, and hardworking, helping to change public perceptions of what women were capable of.

  • They paved the way for greater opportunities for women in the workforce. After the war, many women continued to work outside the home, and new job opportunities opened up for them in fields that had previously been off-limits. Of course, the opportunities didn’t magically open. Women fought for them.

Want to Explore this Topic in Terms of Your Life or Your Relatives Lives?

Try reflecting or writing on one or more of the following topics as a way to consider the contribution of Rosie the Riveter and other women who worked during WW2:

  • Write about your personal experiences working in a male-dominated industry.

  • Reflect on the ways in which your mother’s, grandmother’s, or even great grandmother’s work during WW2 influenced your own ideas about women's roles and opportunities.

  • Have you ever hear stories from women who worked during WW2? Think about or write on a specific story. Did that impact your life and career? Did it inspire you?

  • Think (or write) about the challenges you have faced as a woman working today. Have those challenges helped to shape your understanding of previous generations of women. In what ways?

  • Consider how Rosie the Riveter and other women who worked during WW2 inspired the following generations of women. What do you hope your inspirational legacy will be for women in the next generation.

It's Back to Taxes

I grew up in Oklahoma and have always enjoyed the sayings of Will Rogers. Therefore, I get a kick out of this one:

“What’s the difference between death and taxes? Death doesn't get worse every time Congress meets.” — Will Rogers

Well, back to plowing through my records…until tomorrow when I’ll reflect on the role of suffrage and women’s history. 

In the meantime, I hope you'll start planning how you intend to celebrate Women's History Month.


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