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Modern Day Rosie the Riveters

Deanne Fitzmaurice | United States

LILLA WALLACE, a cleaning specialist at a railcar refurbishment facility in Los Angeles.

“I used to do hair at a salon. Now I work inside a garage with my co-worker Fatima. We do two cars a day—the whole thing! It’s detailing, elbow grease, hard cleaning, hard work. If we put our minds to it, we can build anything—freeways, trains, etc. I could see myself being a mechanic one day. You can work hard and still retain your femininity.”

Women Can Build highlights the hardworking women who build America’s buses, trains, roads, and bridges. Evoking the spirit of Rosie the Riveter in a modern context, the project aims to bring to the forefront women who CAN build — America’s transportation systems and anything they set their minds to — with hard work, determination and commitment.

While significant progress has been made in the fight for gender equity, we still have a long way to go. Although women serve as the primary or co-breadwinner in half of American families, they represent the majority of full-time workers earning poverty wages. For instance, one in four Hispanic women and nearly one in five Black women work full-time and earn less than $20,000 per year, which falls well below the federal poverty line for a family of four.

Advancing women’s economic empowerment requires a long-term commitment and broad approach to policies that uplift women and remove barriers to opportunity. The Women Can Build project embodies this spirit and aims to empower women by elevating their integral role in the U.S. economy.

“These modern-day Rosie the Riveters are powerful, skilled women who build our trains, buses and infrastructure—some of the few, as there is wide gender inequality in manufacturing and construction jobs across America. Women have come a long way in the last generation with job opportunities—but women are still discriminated against in some fields and fill too few top positions. Now, when there seems to be a backlash against women’s rights, it’s important to recognize that women deserve the same opportunities as men—and deserve equal pay for equal work. I wanted to celebrate these strong, dynamic women in this series of portraits—and hope that this work sparks discussion that will help create increased opportunity for women.”

Jobs To Move America




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