The iconic statue known as “Fearless Girl” is taking on the financial market.
After the city of New York announced the symbol of gender equality would move from its original location in front of the “Charging Bull” statue, where it became a safety hazard, it was finally placed to face the New York stock exchange Monday, the New York Times reports.
“She is a powerful symbol of the need for change at the highest levels of corporate America — and she will become a durable part of our city’s civic life,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement Monday.
The financial services firm State Street Global Advisors initially commissioned the temporary sculpture installation to encourage the inclusion of women on corporate boards. After it quickly became a high traffic tourist attraction, the sculpture stayed.
The assertive, four-foot bronze statue, sculpted by artist Kristen Visbal, first went up the night before International Women’s Day in March 2017. In a statement released in April, Visbal said she’s thrilled her work will remain in New York.
“She can have an even bigger stage to make an even bigger impact,” Cyrus Taraporevala, State Street Global Advisors chief executive, said on Monday at the ceremony following the statue’s move.
Previously placed in front of artist Arturo Di Modica’s “Charging Bull” sculpture in New York City’s financial district, “Fearless Girl’s” popularity became a traffic concern while New Yorkers and tourists alike blocked the street trying to snag a photo with her.
“Now, instead of staring down the bull, she’s going to be staring down all of business,” Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) said Monday at the new location’s unveiling, according to HuffPost.
The placement of “Fearless Girl” is especially significant considering the New York Stock Exchange nominated its first female president in 226 years in May.
Betty Liu, executive vice chairwoman of the NYSE, shared why the statue is important to her with the New York Times Monday.
“I am the daughter of Chinese immigrants,” she explained. “My father, from China, has always instilled in me the fearlessness of going for what your dreams are.”
But the statue’s popularity hasn’t been without controversy. Months after it went up, the firm behind the campaign settled for $5 million for paying 305 of the top women at the company less than the men. Since 2017, “Fearless Girl” has also received its fair share of skepticism, seen by some as “corporate feminism” and just another marketing scheme.
After Monday’s move, critics took to social media to voice their concerns.
Despite the pushback, “Fearless Girl” still managed to help 152 companies add women to all-male boards globally in 2017. In the same year, however, women only held 19.9% of board seats at S&P 500 companies in the US, according to the women’s leadership nonprofit Catalyst.
Let’s see what kind of change the statue will bring, if any, in its new location.