Skip to Content

South Carolina Honors College

Dear Rosie

by Shyla Phillips  

I wanted to write to tell you I’m following behind 

I’m inspired by you, as are all womankind 

You beckon my generation with your flexed arm 

And remind me there’s nothing more powerful than skill mixed with feminine charm 


I’m doing what I can to do my part 

In this technical time, work with my hands and my heart 

But it has been a bit of a struggle, I would like to say 

Some aid would be appreciated for the women of today 


Allow me to explain the mistakes I’ve made 

My experience as a female in pursuing a trade 


I talked to some representatives at a welding exhibition 

I stood there asking questions for as long as I could stay 

I tried to tell them I was serious but they wouldn’t listen 

Rosie, why did I decide to wear a skirt and pigtails that day? 


They laughed when I applied 

They told me to think twice 

Wouldn’t I prefer to nurse or paint nails? 

I just thanked them for the advice 


I never regretted my decision, not for a second 

From the moment I tried it I fell in love with the profession 

But it hasn’t all been easy, besides the typical work 

I didn’t realize necessities for women were considered perks 

It is difficult enough to operate a man’s tools 

I’m just trying to navigate the unspoken rules 

But the disbelief, it’s another hurdle altogether 

Rosie, I hope you understand why I’m writing, I hope you get the purpose of this letter 


I’m on the way, I’m trying, but it is really hard 

When for less fabric we are doubly charged 

When I get doubting looks I just flip down my hood 

Rosie, why can’t they believe that a woman too can be good? 


Rosie, sometimes I get frustrated, it’s hard to understand 

They say they need us, they want us, that we’re in high demand 

But that’s not what I’ve seen 

Is that what they truly mean? 

I’ve stepped into the world,  

and I’m still trying to find a place for us girls 


Rosie, wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could get a locker room too? 

Instead of putting paper over the classroom windows the way I’m sure you had to do 

While the guys bang on the door, urging us to hurry 

So now we change in the closets so there’s no need to worry 


Rosie, I’ve found cotton jeans that fit me! Now they’re making them for girls! 

Only online, and only one kind 

But I’ve been cinching men’s pants around my waist with a belt 

For two years, so this pair is the best I have felt  

And we have jackets now with sleeves that don’t swallow my hands 

And gloves without an extra inch on each finger, Rosie, isn’t it grand? 


It is all much more expensive 

Female welders, quite the investment 

But I’ll make sure that I’m worthwhile 

I’ll be known for going the extra mile 


Rosie, I just have to ask 

Were you supported with more than words to accomplish your task? 

Did you enjoy the same accommodations as the men? 

It doesn’t seem like a lot to ask for, but then again... 


A career center locker room for the girls would be ideal 

As well as protective equipment at a reasonable price 

Work clothes for female bodies would be great if it were real 

I’m just saying, Rosie, wouldn’t equality be nice? 

They say they support females pursuing technical careers 

It’s a lovely sentiment I hear all the time 

And while I appreciate the reassurance it has on the ears 

It’s beginning to feel like a disingenuous line 

If they really want to help, tangible support would be great 

This is what I wish to ask of my home state 

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.