"Fearless Girl" faces the workforce gender gap


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“Fearless Girl” statue faces the Wall Street bull in the Financial District. Courtesy of fortune.com

State Street Global Advisors installed a bronze statue of a “Fearless Girl” facing Wall Street’s iconic charging bull March 7, thus sparking an essential campaign for companies to give women more leadership roles. While the Women’s March was influential, this statue symbolizes that standing still can have an equally strong impact. 
State Street, a nearly 2.5 trillion-dollar investor, commissioned the statue to draw attention to the lack of women on companies’ boards. American Sculptor Ms. Kristen Visbal created the bronze sculpture and placed it across from the Wall Street bull for International Women’s Day. State Street installed the statue with city officials and expects the statue to stay up through February 2018, according to buisnessinsider.com.

American Sculptor Ms. Kristen Visbal created the bronze sculpture for International Women’s Day March 7.
Courtesy of Ms. Jennifer Davis.

“One of the most iconic images on Wall Street is the charging bull. So the idea of having a female sort of stand against the bull or stand up to the bull just struck us as a very clever but also creative and engaging way to make that statement. Even though it’s a little girl, her stance is one of determination, forwardness, and being willing to challenge and take on the status quo,” State Street’s Deputy Global Chief Investment Officer Ms. Lori Heinel said, according to businessinsider.com.
Ms. Heinel speaks to the gender gap of women on boards, especially in the male-dominated world of Wall Street. Women hold only 14.2 percent of the top five leadership positions at companies in the finance industry, according to money.cnn.com. This reality is worsened by the fact that out of 500 companies, there are only 24 females holding the top position of Chief Executive Officer, according to money.cnn.com. This statue brings attention to the courage and unrealized power of women in many fields, and highlights the necessity to hire more women in leadership positions.
The Wall Street bull represents the strength and power of the American people, particularly men, after the stock market crash of 1987. The young girl, however, faces the bull head on, signifying the potential females have to overcome the challenges and obstacles that blockade them from pursuing opportunities. 
The solution to this gender discrepancy is changing the prevailing image of leadership in today’s society. Women must channel their ambitions into fearlessly leading male-dominated companies. Today, companies are currently dominated by gender and cultural stereotypes that are often off-putting to women, particularly young girls as they begin their career search. For example, most women do not want to pursue careers in STEM because they fear immersing themselves in fields that are conventionally pursued mainly by males. Women internalize negative views on women in leadership positions, resulting in increased fear, less confidence, and risk-averse attitudes.
Women should seek to emulate the strength that the “Fearless Girl” possesses. She serves as both a visual reminder of the women who have already succeeded in finance, and as a harbinger of those who are still to come. This statue is critical in helping young women recognize that they do not have to be a man to succeed, because being an ambitious and fearless girl is just as powerful in the work force. 
While the Women’s Day marches were successful in proclaiming the need for change in society, literature, and art, the statue demonstrates that silent actions can be just as powerful. The bronze statue captivated New York City and took to the social media realm worldwide, spreading the meaning of its existence and symbolic placement. It stands as a reminder that hardworking women are here to stay and have taken a stand in the nation’s financial district. 
“Fearless Girl” statue faces the Wall Street bull in the Financial District.
Courtesy of fortune.com

This statue is a call to action. It prompts individuals to recognize women’s capabilities and provide opportunities for women to demonstrate and utilize their fullest potential. Like State Street Global Advisors, women should unify and advocate increased gender diversity. While this girl represents the present surge towards gender equality, she also foreshadows future change as more women boldly surmount obstacles in the workforce.
– Kristen Davis, Content Editor