A bronze sculpture of a defiant girl has been placed in front of Wall Street’s iconic bull on the eve of International Women’s Day. The statue is part of a campaign to encourage companies to act against gender inequality by recruiting women on their boards and reducing the pay gap in the corporate world.
One in four of the 3,000 largest traded US companies do not have even one woman on their board, according to State Street Global Advisors (SSGA), one of the world’s largest fund managers and the company that commissioned the statue.
SSGA sent a letter to 3,500 companies asking them to act on this, arguing that companies with more female leaders performed better.
“A key contributor to effective independent board leadership is diversity of thought, which requires directors with different skills, backgrounds and expertise,” SSGA president Ron O’Hanley said in a statement.
“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 sculpture’s installation is temporary; it is expected to stay in place at least several weeks. It was initially given a New York City Hall permit for one week, later extended to 30 days.
A petition on Change.org asking for the statue to be made permanent gathered 2,500 signatures in its first 48 hours.