The “We can do it!” poster is most of the well known recruitment posters of World War 2. Although sources say that it was little known and circulated during the war it became a symbol of feminism during the 80’s and 90’s. The poster was primarily circulated in Westinghouse Electric to inspire women to work harder. In 1997 Westinghouse Electric was renamed as CBS corporation. The artist J.Howard Miller based the design on United Press photo from the time.
The poster was designed to inspire those at who working in the factory to work harder. Many women were taken out of their roles in the home during the war to take up factory jobs vacated by men who had gone to Europe to fight in the war. This of course was difficult for those at home as they were not only thrust into a new role, but they had the fear of being made a widow.
The poster portrays a strong female character wearing factory overalls and a bandana. The image has often been picked up and used as feminist icon. The main protagonist is known as Rosie the Riveter who was also featured in numerous publications and posters during the war, she was used to characterise the strong female who left her role in the home to take up work in the factory.
The designer of the poster was J. Howard Miller. who was a well known artist and illustrator both before and after the war. He produced number of posters during world war 2, these include the “It’s a tradition with US, mister!” and the “You too would want the best! Let’s be our own inspectors” The majority of his work was designed to improve efficiency and productivity in factories across the U.S.