A statue titled "Fearless Girl" faces the Wall Street bull, Wednesday, March 8, 2017, in New York. A big investment firm, State Street Global Advisors, put the statue there to highlight International Women's Day.
(AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
'Fearless Girl' stares down Wall Street's iconic bull
March 10, 2017
A statue of a strong young girl has been placed on Wall Street. That is in New York City. The statue of the girl is staring down Wall Street's famous Charging Bull. The new statue was put up by a major asset managing firm. It is for International Women's Day. It was put up to make a point. There are not enough women on the boards of the largest U.S. corporations.
State Street Global Advisors had the statue made. State Street Global is a large investment company. It is based in Boston. State Street Global's goal is to push companies to increase the number of women directors.
The newest statue was created by Kristen Visbal. It is called "Fearless Girl." It drew crowds March 8. They first came to pose for pictures with the bull. But the novelty quickly became a New York City hot spot.
The girl is sculpted in bronze. Her hands are firmly planted on her waist. Her ponytailed head is held high.
"Know the power of women in leadership. SHE makes a difference," reads a plaque at her feet.
"We want to engage with boards and management around issues that we think will drive core results," said Lori Heinel. She is State Street's deputy global chief investment officer. She said having more diverse boards and more diverse senior management is very important. It will drive better results for companies, Heinel said.
Twenty-five percent of the Russell 3000, a broad index of U.S. companies, have no women on their boards. This is according to State Street. It manages many of their assets.
ISS Analytics is a business research firm. It says just 16 percent of board seats on companies in the Russell 3000 are held by women. The average board of directors has eight men and one woman.
"It's going to happen to the end of time unless you change something," says Erik Gordon. He is a lawyer. He also is a professor at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business. "It's got to not just be the rules. It's got to be the culture."
State Street has three women on an 11-member board. Heinel said her company also will urge those in Great Britain and Australia to add women to their leadership.
One man working in corporate America needed no convincing.
Chandrasekar Sundaram says a woman is the chief executive officer of the company he works for in Texas. That company is Hewlett Packard Enterprise. Sundaram said quite a few women report to the CEO.
"But when it gets to 50 percent, that's when I think it'll be right," said Sundaram. He is a Dallas resident. He originally is from India. He was visiting New York with his family. The Charging Bull was one of their stops.
The mammoth bronze bull was a "guerrilla art" act. It was dropped in the middle of the night in New York's Bowling Green Park in 1989 without permission. An artist created it as a symbol of Americans' survival energy. It was created following the 1987 stock market crash. The city gave its permission for the bull to remain.
McCann New York is a top advertising agency. It put up the statue of the girl before dawn March 7. It has a city permit for one week. Talks are underway for the piece to stay longer.
Why choose the Charging Bull as the site to place the girl?
"Well, we really wanted the bull to have a partner. And a partner that we thought was worthy of him," Heinel said. "And so we got a very determined young woman who is fearless and is willing to drive the change that we believe we need."
Sundaram's 8-year-old daughter, Sankaribriya, got the message.
She wanted to pose with the sculpted girl.
"I just wanted to look at her and wanted to feel like her."
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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why aren't there more women in finance?
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