On the night before International Women’s Day, a statue of a small girl was placed in front of Wall Street’s iconic charging bull. The girl stares down the bull with a mixture of steadfast defiance and, in some ways, a newly established business partnership.
The statue was commissioned by State Street Global Advisors, an asset management company. According to the company, the girl symbolizes their commitment to gender equality in the workplace, and stands as a call to other companies to include more women on their corporate boards. Ron O’Hanley, president and chief executive officer of SSGA, said in a statement:
A key contributor to effective independent board leadership is diversity of thought, which requires directors with different skills, backgrounds and expertise. Today, we are calling on companies to take concrete steps to increase gender diversity on their boards and have issued clear guidance to help them begin to take action.
The bronze statue, called The Fearless Girl, was created by artist Kristen Visbal and modeled after a nine-year-old Latina girl, the daughter of a friend. The piece is only supposed to remain on Wall Street for a month or so, but SSGA is hoping that people will want it to stick around. The bull statue, which was erected in 1989 to symbolize the resurgence of industry after the stock market crash of 1987, managed to become a permanent addition to the city—there’s no reason why The Fearless Girl shouldn’t also become a timeless addition. One thing we’ve learned this year is that gender equality has a long way to go, and the fight will certainly last longer than a month.
You can learn more about the artist on her website. Don’t forget to celebrate International Women’s Day by reading Paste’s list of “10 International Women Authors You Need To Read.”
Update: It bears mentioning that The Fearless Girl was commissioned as an ad campaign and publicity stunt by McCann New York on behalf of SSGA, per AdWeek. Their goal of increased gender diversity is an excellent one, but it also sweeps under the rug the fact that SSGA is not much better than other wealthy New York companies in that regard. Only five of their 28 leaders are women—less than 25 percent. The statue is a powerful symbol, but also a marketing maneuver, and while SSGA may be more progressive than most corporate giants, there’s still a long way to go.