Editor’s Letter: Let’s Do This, Ladies! Celebrating Rosie the Riveter and More

san rafael bridge

Imagine you’re driving to work and your favorite radio traffic reporter chirps, “Good morning Bay Area, well it’s bumper-to-bumper today on the Rosie, but motorists don’t seem to mind. I mean, how can you get upset when you’re on a bridge called Rosie?” This was my daydream last March as I drove home over the Richmond–San Rafael Bridge after attending an event to promote Rosie the Riveter Day in Richmond. I did some research and realized this bridge of two cities actually has an official name.

A few facts: Despite the fact we all call it the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge or San Rafael-Richmond Bridge, depending on the direction, the bridge already has an official name. The McCarthy Memorial Bridge is named after California State Senator John F. McCarthy, not to be confused with the notorious other Republican senator from the ’50s. Our Joseph “Jack” McCarthy lived here in Marin, had seven children and was also instrumental in creating BART. According to San Jose’s Mercury News, not only did McCarthy fund the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, but in 1957 he also proposed a bridge from Russian Hill in San Francisco across Angel Island to Tiburon, which foundered on the violent opposition of Southern Marin residents (insert: eye roll.)

With respect to the McCarthy family, how about a name share? The Rosie the Riveter/McCarthy Memorial (ladies first) would represent the nearly 20 million ethnically-diverse American women who entered the workforce during World War II, from 1941 to 1945. To qualify as a Rosie, a woman just needed to fill a job a man left behind to join the war. Besides the obvious building ships, jeeps, tanks, producing ammunition and ordnance, and other supplies needed by the military, these ladies took up posts in offices, unions, canneries and on farms, literally paving the way for women in the workforce, especially in the trades. There is also a Rosie the Riveter Memorial Bridge in West Virginia, but renaming our bridge makes sense, given its proximity to the Rosie the Riveter/WWII Home Front National Historical Park.

Just like the image on our cover by photographer Margot Hartford, armed with this information, I wanted to shout it out! And I have. I reached out to Nathan Ballard, who works with our state’s First Partner, Jennifer Siebel Newsom who grew up here in Marin, to see if it is something she would be interested in championing. I’m sure she has many friends among our readership, so please put in a good word as well if you agree.

This month marks our 7th annual Celebrating Women issue, and is chock-full of women making a difference in our community and beyond. For instance, read about Ukrainian born Nataliya Anon’s successful efforts in helping her homeland, and best-selling author Jasmin Darznik highlighting three Iranian women speaking up for their mothers and sisters back home. We also focus on three local women whose longtime friendship and support have bolstered them into their own spheres of influence and success. If there’s a woman in your life you feel should be celebrated, please send 100 to 200 words about them along with a photo to [email protected] by the 10th of this month so we can share it in our newsletter this May. 

Mimi Towle, Editor

Have a look at our May issue here: