How NWHL’s Riveters honour WW2 era women factory workers with their jerseys

The NWHL's Metropolitan Riveters unveiled their new jerseys, which continue the team's commitment to honouring women of the past. (Riveters/Twitter)

The Metropolitan Riveters will have a new look during the next NWHL season — one that hasn’t forgotten the history their jerseys are known for.

In their sixth season, the Riveters’ away jerseys will adopt a new blue-and-red colour palette that features three white stripes and a rivet design on its shoulders.

The significance of those stripes stems from World War 2. Beginning on D-Day, when the Normandy landings took place and the liberation of German-occupied France began, Allied aircraft had alternating stripes painted on their wings and fuselages to help identify friend from foe.

Incorporating the stripes into their jerseys is an ode to the women who worked in factories constructing aircraft, munitions and other materials that were essential to the war effort, and who painted those lines. The rivets on the shoulders act as a nod to the irreplaceable work of these women, too.

The Riveters’ recognition of WW2-era women heroes doesn’t stop there, with the renewed use of Rosie the Riveter, whose bandana-clad image can be seen in the team’s logo.

Based primarily on a fictional character, Rosie was the star of a campaign that recruited female workers for defence industries.

During the war, the percentage of women in the workforce rose to what were then unprecedented heights, rising from 27 per cent to 37 per cent between 1940 and 1945 — including many positions that were previously closed to women. This rise was especially pronounced in the U.S. aircraft industry, where women made up 65 per cent of the wartime workforce, compared to just one per cent in pre-war years.

Rosie is recognized as one of the most successful recruitment tools in American history and, in time, became among the most iconic images of working women.

The NWHL announced last Wednesday that it plans to run a condensed 2021 season and Isobel Cup Playoffs beginning on Jan. 23 and wrapping up Feb. 5 in Lake Placid, N.Y.

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