In honor of International Women’s Day this year, State Street Global Advisors hired artist Kristen Visbal to literally change the face of Wall Street. Visbal’s “Fearless Girl” statue went up under cover of darkness, standing in defiance across from the iconic “Charging Bull.”
State Street’s goal with the statue was to specifically call attention to the lack of women on the Russell 3000, an index of US companies (only 16 percent of board seats listed on the Russell 3000 are held by women). Whereas the “Charging Bull,” installed under cover of darkness and without a permit just following the 1987 stock market crash, was a statement about the resilience of the American economy, “Fearless Girl” focuses on the resilience and importance of women in business.
Now, Public Advocate Letitia James is advocating for the temporary installation to become permanent. Citing data showing that nearly 60 percent of publicly traded companies have no women on their boards, James argues that the statue should remain as a “symbol of feminism and equality.”
“It should be permanent,” agrees Kate Kearney, a Long Island resident employed in leadership training. “It’s about women’s leadership and the lack of it in the financial world. Having a young girl standing up to the big bull of Wall Street is awesome. It says, ‘Hey, girls, you can be anything.’”
Certainly, the “Fearless Girl” statue has already garnered significant support, with huge crowds of people flocking to the plaza take pictures with it despite the cold New York City weather.
One of those visitors—a man in a suit who was photographed humping the statue—met with immediate ire, including that of NYC Mayor de Blasio, who identified it as an example of rape culture.
Originally “Fearless Girl” was only supposed to remain in the square for a week. However, de Blasio extended its stay, and if James and the statue’s advocates have their way, she could be sticking around for much longer, reminding the financial capital of the US of how far we still have to go when it comes to getting more women involved in American business.
“Our future rests in the hands of fearless girls,” Mayor de Blasio tweeted on the subject.
Photo: Christopher Penler / Shutterstock.com