State Street Global Advisor, a $2.5 trillion asset manager, installed a temporary statue called “Fearless Girl” about 20 feet across Wall Street’s famous “Charging Bull” statue to highlight women empowerment.
The bronze statue of a little girl fearlessly staring down the charging bull with hands on her hip and a defiant expression on her face represents the lack of gender disparity in corporate boards and highlights the pay gap for working women of the financial sector.
The asset management firm wants more women leaders to end male dominance and announced that it would pressure 3,500 companies worth $30 trillion in market cap to end gender disparity on their boards.
“As a large index provider, we have to be invested in these companies,” said Lori Heinel, the deputy global chief investment officer for State Street.
“The best thing we can do is be more activist in those companies to improve their performance as a long-term provider of capital.”
"A lot of people talk about gender diversity, but we really felt we had to take it to a broader level," said spokeswoman Anne McNally.
Data from corporate governance data firm Equilar shows that one of four companies in the Russell 3000 index, meant to be a benchmark of the entire U.S. stock market, had no female membership.
The statue gives a message of hope that capital patriarchy can come to an end with gender parity in corporate boards.
State Street said that the idea of the statue was a combined effort of the firm’s investment and marketing team. The asset manager has a week’s permit for the statue but it is working to get it extended based on its popularity.
Advocates of gender parity lauded the move. "This is a remarkable evolution for Wall Street, which has been such a male-dominated field," said Natasha Lamb, director of equity research and shareholder engagement for Arjuna Capital, who has been active in pushing companies to disclose gender pay gap in shareholder proposals.