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Staring Wall Street's famous statue of the Charging Bull in the eye is now a figure of a young girl, standing firm with her arms on her hips.
Ahead of International Women's Day, a branch of the Boston-based State Street Corporation installed the statue in the heart of New York City's financial district.
The investment firm said they want to make a point: There's a dearth of women on the boards of the largest U.S. corporations.
"As a steward of nearly $2.5 trillion of assets, we want to engage with boards and management around issues that we think will drive core results," said Lori Heinel, State Street's deputy global chief investment officer. "And what you find repeatedly is having more diverse boards and more diverse senior management will actually drive better results for companies."
Twenty-five percent of the Russell 3000 — an index of the nation's largest companies — have no women on their boards, according to State Street, which manages many of their assets. Nearly 60 percent have fewer than 15 percent of female directors.
The work, by artist Kristen Visbal is called "Fearless Girl," drew tourists and workers to pose for photos on Wednesday. Her head is held high. Her hands are firmly planted on her waist. Her pony-tail looks as if it's in motion. The girl appears to be staring down the Charging Bull.
The mammoth bronze sculpture of the bull was a guerrilla art piece, dropped in the middle of the night in Bowling Green Park back in 1989. The artist created it as a symbol of Americans' resiliency in the face of the 1987 stock market crash. Eventually, the city granted permission for the piece to remain on Wall Street permanently.
"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."
The piece, dropped off on Wall Street by ad agency McCann New York, has a city permit for at least one week. Negotiations are underway for the artwork to remain there longer.
A plaque at her feet says: "Know the power of women in leadership. SHE makes a difference." (SHE is what State Street has been called their efforts to advance women to leadership roles.)
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