Photo: Bernard Hoffman - LIFE
You probably knew Rosie the Riveter, the cultural icon that symbolized the mass entry of women into the American war effort during World War II, but have you met Winnie the Welder (some call her Wendy the Welder), the moniker given to some 2,000 women who worked in the shipyard building war ships and subs.
LIFE photographer Bernard Hoffma took the photo above of a young female welder at a boat-and-sub-building yard in October 1943. Jennifer Mann of The Patriot Ledger has the fascinating story of one such Winnie the Welder:
She wore welding spats to protect her legs from the flames. Her helmet, with the name Flo etched across the front, shielded her eyes from the spraying sparks.
With a heavy green welding jacket masking her 20-year-old figure, the long mane of auburn hair was the only clue that a young woman was building ships alongside the men at the Fore River shipyard in Quincy.
Still, Florence “Woo Woo” DiTullio Joyce picked up her nickname pretty quickly.
“I was a curvaceous 119 pounds. Every time I walked by, the guys would go, ‘Woo Woo!’” she recalled with a laugh.
It was a groundbreaking time for women in the workplace. Thousands of women took over jobs that had been vacated by men who went off to fight in World War II.
Read the rest over at The Patriot Ledger: Link