Lesson Summary

Confidence means believing in yourself. Learning to believe in one’s self is an important life lesson. This lesson gives a real-life example of women who stepped into their confidence at a time of war. It helps girls understand the importance of confidence and how to incorporate the character trait into their lives and relationships.

Section One

Preparatory Reading


The message and theme of Rosie the Riveter is a classic lesson in the foundation of women's empowerment. Not only is it one of the few history lessons on WWII that involves women, but it also redefines the message regarding what girls should (or could) look, act and be like—even as it underscores the importance of using confidence to do things never before imagined.

Women are commonplace in the workforce today. However, today’s girls must understand that it took an impressive level of confidence for a woman in the 1940s to walk into a factory and say, “I want to build airplanes.” That WWII-era woman had to have known that, even though she’d never tried to build an airplane, she could build one. She had to have a level of grit to work in a man-dominated field that went against the very nature of everything previously expected of women. Then, in the end, she had to learn how to leave her job and watch a man replace her on the factory floor when the war was over without losing her hard-won sense of self-worth.

Rosie tells the story of women rising to support a nation as they built airplanes and became the backbone of our country while men (and many women) joined the global war. Everyone was learning, piece by piece, to do this new thing that the war required. And, while figuring out life and solving problems is a universal theme for men and women, doing so while being told to maintain your figure, lipstick and hair was a strict standard for women to meet on top of wartime stress. However, figuring out these same problems while realizing you don’t have to maintain your figure, lipstick and hair is empowerment. Rosie took all facets of the feminine life and empowerment, blended everything and created a straight-up woman rising.

The lesson of Rosie is that she is every woman. She represents every woman who loves to be graceful AND every woman who loves to build. She embodies every lady who loves makeup, every girl who loves leadership, every gal who loves to be tough. Rosie is all of us rolled into one powerful story. Rosie still is teaching our country and its sisterhood that girls can do and be whatever they want and that their worth is not determined by what jobs they do or how their work is done. Lipstick and worth do not go hand in hand; one does not take away from or add to the other. And, at the end of the day, once the job of building airplanes is done, a girl still has worth.

Rosie is the poster child for going outside one’s comfort zone and finding opportunities to succeed that never before were thought possible. The power of Rosie the Riveter is that her job didn’t exist until WWII, so the opportunity for this type of empowerment didn’t exist. Little girls in the ’30s may have dreamt of flying planes, but did they dream of building them? Did they realize that, in a time when they were told their place was in the home, they actually had the physical ability to make a machine that would fly? Did women realize that, by building these airplanes, they would help win a war? These are women rising. This is feminine power, and every girl needs to hear this story of women breaking a stereotype and doing it with grace and grit—a little poise mixed with a little “in your face, world!” attitude.

For once in her life, a woman was encouraged to get dirty and greasy and to wear the signs of her hard work as a badge of honor. A nation called out, “You can do it!” and a culture of women shouted back, “We know!” Rosie shows us that confident women know they can work outside their comfort zones. These women knew they could fly, even before being allowed the opportunity to build a plane… even before they were given the opportunity to DREAM about building a plane. Confident women are confident in their abilities.

Oh, goodness—this is the stuff all girls should know! This is the air we want them to breathe. Knowing the story of Rosie is knowing how confidence rises. It’s knowing that a woman can and will be this AND that at any point in our lives. To fly and build. To have hair brushed and to have a messy bun. To be feminine and to be greasy. This, all of this, is as vital as breath to the spirits of young girls rising.

This is a history lesson unlike any other. It’s a flight of confidence. Come aboard, girls; you can do it!


The Rosie the Riveter campaign changed the course of empowerment for women. It opened the eyes of a nation to what women could, would and should be able to do with their lives.

WWII started in Europe when Britain and France declared war on Germany.

U.S. officially entered WWII.

The War Manpower Commission organized a Women’s Advisory Committee to consider how women could be used to help the war efforts.

Pittsburgh artist J. Howard Miller created the “We Can Do It” poster to motivate employees during wartime efforts. It was later adopted by the Rosie the Riveter campaign and took on the life we know today.

Norman Rockwell’s iconic picture in The Saturday Evening Post, titled “Rosie the Riveter,” continued to fan the flames of patriotism.

This campaign, along with many others, increased the number of women in the workforce at the end of 1941 from 13 million to over 20 million.

WWII ended and, with it, 80,000 “Rosie the Riveters” lost their jobs to the men returning home and rejoining the workforce.

Rosie the Riveter's career was short-lived, but as anyone can tell, it made a huge impact on the outcome of WWII.


Confidence is the foundation of life. It is the secret ingredient for everything and anything. Without it, today’s girls won’t have the internal motivation to set goals, dream possibilities, learn new things or make friends.

Every girl needs confidence. A life without confidence in oneself is a reactionary one with little celebration because little is achieved. When one is filled with feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt, jubilation at a reached goal rarely is experienced. The most disheartening realization in this confidence quest is that parents, teachers and role models can’t simply give girls confidence. Confidence is a gift the women of tomorrow must give to themselves. Confidence is a gift of self.

Although there have been many positive changes for women since Rosie’s time, a facet of culture still remains that seeks to erase their hard-won self-worth. So the girls of today need every available reminder to be confident and to keep working toward self-belief, even as they encourage other girls to do the same. It feels daunting because confidence isn’t just a goal that is reached and then marked off one’s to-do list. Confidence is a goal that needs to be maintained. Every day, sometimes several times a day, girls need to adjust their self-talk and remind themselves to believe in their worth and abilities. Keeping confidence is work. Sometimes it’s tiring work. Sometimes it’s “I don’t even want to try” work. All of this is even more of a reason to keep inspiring tomorrow’s leaders to work and maintain confidence.

Today’s girls have a wellspring of ways available to build their confidence. They can look to their women role models—teachers, family members, community leaders—who move through life decisively. They can read about and discuss ways to bolster self-esteem. Girls can try new things—perhaps picking up a new sport or learning a different skill. Making new friends is another great confidence booster. It’s also empowering for girls to stand up for their beliefs, work hard, volunteer and cheer others on. These things require a step forward in faith and confidence—with one step leading to the next until girls find they are moving forward with true assurance.

The most powerful feature about confidence is that it blossoms into so many other character traits. From confidence comes perseverance, vision, courage, selflessness, tenacity, wisdom, curiosity, devotion and authenticity. When women open the gates of confidence, they enable it to flow into the lives of others and feed the inspiration of other girls, growing leadership and trust among them. Confidence is the building block of empowerment for all girls.

This confidence lesson is intended to be a source of inspiration for girls who want to be bold and sure of themselves and to understand how confidence serves them. They can use confidence to do the hard work for them in many situations. It is one of the first skills women must master in life as they strive for independence and success. Confidence is grace and grit, gifted to her.


Below are descriptions of each item we offer as part of the Confidence Theme. Depending on your purchase, some of these may not be applicable.

Illustrated Portrait
Our portrait gives life to each of our sets. Rosie's hair is pulled up in a bun, her eyes are set and that trademark bandana is tied just right. She is ready to face problems head-on. Her determination and confidence are rising for all to see. She appears to be waiting for someone to tell her, "No, girls can't do that," so she can prove them wrong.
Activity Booklet
The Activity Booklet highlights the importance of Rosie the Riveter during World War II. It highlights the confident women who joined the workforce supporting their country. The booklet includes six thought-provoking activities that guide the readers to apply Rosie's legacy to their lives. Girls will understand what confidence looks, sounds and feels like. More importantly, they will understand how to be their own best advocate.
The Biography provides an in-depth account of Rosie the Riveter’s purpose and impact during WWII. Readers will learn why the government turned to women to build war machinery, only to force them out of work once the war was over. The book also examines how our Rosies challenged stereotypes and the landscape of women in the workforce.
Biography Workbook
The Biography Workbook allows the reader to dive into the lessons Rosie's legacy teaches and apply them to their life. We took the same thought-provoking activities from the Activity Booklet and made them into a companion guide for the Biography. After completing the activities, girls will understand what confidence looks, sounds and feels like. More importantly, they will understand how to be their own best advocate.
Timeline Poster
The Timeline Poster introduces Rosie's purpose during World War II. One look at it, and the reader can easily spot the impact women had on the war. It highlights the creation of the campaign to get women into the workforce, women's accomplishments and their exit from the workforce after the war. The poster highlights women's achievements and how they changed the course of history.
Play-It-Forward Cards
Using the Play-It-Forward Cards allows your girls to generalize the lessons they have learned about confidence and Rosie the Riveter. By following the directions on the cards, they will acknowledge those instances where they see Rosie's confidence in themselves and others in their community. The Play-It-Forward Cards encourage girls to support one another by building and recognizing confidence in others. This is confidence in action, Rosie approved.
The Accessory is a gift that reminds girls of Rosie the Riveter's "Can Do" spirit, her bandana. In true Grace & Grit fashion, the bandana had to be one of a kind. We took an iconic fashion statement and gave it a 21st-century makeover, turning it into an item your girls will want to wear, reminding them that they are meant to do great things.
The charm is a reminder of Rosie the Riveter's legacy. It symbolizes her belief in herself as she walks onto the factory floor each day. The G&G Charm is a round disc that reads "Make a Mark" with a riveter attached. It is a simple reminder that you can do hard things and leave an impact on the world. All you need is some confidence.


Hand out the materials to the girls, allowing them to spend some time going through them independently. If you purchased the charm or accessory, invite them to try it on or talk about how they can use it or add the charm to a bracelet. Give them time to satisfy their curiosity so they can focus on the lesson once you begin. After a few minutes, bring their attention back to you and start the lesson.

The following sections provide you with guidance to get the girls thinking and discussing the topics related to the theme and lesson contents. Use the discussion questions to the extent time allows.

Consider using a whiteboard to note responses, comments and ideas from the group as you go along.


Statement or Instructions:
Direct the girls to the timeline.

Take turns having the girls read each event on the poster.

What do you know about World War II?
After reading the timeline, what do you think is Rosie the Riveter’s greatest accomplishment?


Statement or Instructions:
Direct the girls to the portrait.

Have you seen a picture similar to this?

What do you already know about Rosie the Riveter?

What did she help accomplish for our country?

What are your initial thoughts about Rosie’s portrait?

What might she be thinking?

What do you want to know about Rosie?


Statement or Instructions:
NOTE: If time is limited, group leaders may consider assigning the reading to be done independently before the group meets.

If the group is reading the biography together, consider doing so during silent reading time, out loud by the facilitator, or by taking turns, each girl reading a paragraph or page.

Guided questions to deepen understanding of the Biography:
Have you ever seen the original Rosie the Riveter posters?

Do you think you could learn to build an airplane?

Besides building airplanes, women also built boats and tanks. Given the choice between airplanes, boats or tanks, what would you want to build?

Rosie the Riveters had to have a lot of confidence in themselves to do their jobs. What problems might have occurred if they didn’t believe in their abilities and trust themselves?

Do you ever encounter problems similar to these when you don’t believe in yourself?

Do you think life is easier and more fun when you have confidence? Why?


Statement or Instructions:
Ask the girls:
What do you think the quote on the cover of the booklet means?

Have the girls open up the booklet and invite them each to take turns reading a paragraph.

1. Read parts of the booklet and use the suggested questions below to deepen the discussion and check for understanding.

2. Read the booklet (up to the activities) and then use the suggested questions below to deepen the discussion and check for understanding.

Guided questions to deepen understanding of the Activity Booklet reading:
Have you ever seen the original Rosie the Riveter posters?

Do you think you could learn to build an airplane?

Besides building airplanes, women also built boats and tanks. Given the choice between airplanes, boats or tanks, what would you want to build?

Rosie the Riveters had to have a lot of confidence in themselves to do their jobs. What problems might have occurred if they didn’t believe in their abilities and trust themselves?

Do you ever encounter problems similar to these when you don’t believe in yourself?

Do you think life is easier and more fun when you have confidence? Why?


Statement or Instructions:
Have the girls take the headband and the G&G Charm from the box. Use each item as you discuss the following questions.

Why do you think the headband was chosen as the accessory in this box? (Rosie typically is pictured with a red bandana the women would use to keep their hair back.)

When you wear it, what will it remind you of?

On the charm, it says, “Make a Mark.” Why do you think those words are included on Rosie’s charm?


Statement or Instructions:
Invite the girls to complete the activities in the back of the booklet and discuss their answers. This is the heart of the lesson. While some girls may not want to share their answers, please allow time for discussion and processing their answers. The objective is for the girls (when applicable) to apply lessons about the woman’s life and character trait to their own lives.

The following are the questions found in the Activity Booklet or Biography Workbook. They are meant to be answered independently by the girls in the booklet, but may be referenced as needed in the lesson.

Activity 1:
Confidence is believing in yourself. Rosie the Riveter overcame her doubts and fears as she learned how to build airplanes. Sometimes doing new things causes insecurities, but believing in yourself can help you succeed.

Try something new. Play a new game or talk to another girl with whom you have never spoken before.

What did you do that was new?

How did you feel before you tried it?

How did you feel after you tried it?

What did you learn about yourself during this activity?

Why is it important to believe in yourself?

How does it lead to success?

Activity 2:
Confidence also comes from remembering your skills. Take some time to remind yourself of the things you are good at. Whether you have a natural talent or have developed skills from constant practice, it's important to remember that you are incredibly talented.

Spend some time thinking about your talents and abilities.

What are you good at doing?

How do you feel when you are doing this activity?

Why is it important to feel confident?

How does confidence lead to success?

Activity 3:
Did you know it takes confidence to make mistakes? Even though they can be embarrassing, they happen to all of us and are a natural part of life. Embrace any mistakes you make in life and be confident enough to see them as an opportunity to learn.

Be confident in your mistakes. When one happens, embrace it and see it as an opportunity to learn.

What mistakes did you make this week?

What did you learn from them?

How did you overcome these mistakes?

How did confidence play a role in this situation?

Activity 4:
Installing the rivets that kept war planes intact during flight was a huge task for all Rosie the Riveters; each woman had to be precise and work with a partner. Women had to trust and encourage each other. One of Rosie the Riveter’s legacies was how women believed in and supported each other.

Find a girl who needs a little encouragement—whether it’s in class or at home. Tell her you believe in her!

Whom did you encourage this week?

Why did you decide to encourage that particular girl?

How did she react?

How did confidence play a role in your encouragement of her?

Additional Activity
The Women in War Time Jobs campaign's ads inspired women to join the workforce during World War II. Pretend you are part of the campaign and draw or write an advertisement to recruit women into the workforce. How would you inspire them to believe in their abilities to get the job done?

Activity 5:
Rosies worked hard during the war and dutifully served their country. However, once the war was over, women were required to give up their jobs and return home.

Many people felt it was unfair to expect women to leave the workplace after the war.

Write about why women should have been able to keep their jobs.

How would you convince your team to advocate for women in the workplace?

Activity 6:
Rosie the Riveters not only supported each other in the workplace and at home, but they learned a lot from one another. Whether it was how to balance a bank account or fix a broken sink, they benefited from each other’s knowledge.

Invite a trusted adult woman to read Rosie’s story and interview her about it. Perhaps you can learn something from one another about Rosie and her confidence! Ask her the following questions and write down her answers.

What did she learn from it?

What did she think of Rosie’s journey into confidence?

What does she do to be confident?

Questions to deepen discussion (if time allows):
In your own words, describe what it means to be confident.

Do you know any confident women? Who?


Statement or Instructions:
Tell the girls what the Play-It-Forward Cards are and how we apply the lessons learned from Sarah’s life to our own. They are small challenges intended to be used with other girls in their daily lives. Have the girls take the Play-It-Forward Cards from the box and browse through them for a moment. Go around the group and have them read the front and back of one card aloud. Ask the girls what that card means to them and how they could use it in everyday life. (Depending on time, you may want to limit this exercise to 3 cards.) Remind them that, over time, as they choose to pass out a card to another girl with positive intent, their name will go into a drawing to get the tote bag.

Depending on time, you may want to limit this exercise to only a few girls.


As you close the lesson, you are looking to spark a conversation among the girls about how they plan to use inspiration from Rosie the Riveter to improve their own lives while also helping and supporting one another. The goal is to help them recognize how topics from the lesson apply to their own lives in a positive way.

Discussion Questions
Optional: Use the Timeline Poster as a focal point for open discussion.

What impresses you most about Rosie’s story?

What did you find most interesting?

What are some ways in which you can practice confidence in your life?

How can you help someone else practice being confident?

How do you think this will help you become a more confident person?

What ideas do you have for using the Play-It-Forward Cards?

How did this lesson help you?


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The Digital Lesson Guide is a free download containing the same information from this section. We also have Printed Lesson Guides available for purchase if you prefer to have a physical copy for your personal collection.