Tourists often congregate around the north tip of Bowling Green in lower Manhattan to take a photo with the iconic bull statue, a symbol that has come to represent Wall Street and the U.S. financial system.
But now the bull has competition for visitors. Tourists — and even some New Yorkers — can be seen lining up to take pictures with a statue of a diminutive but determined young girl who is having a staring contest with the ferocious bull.
The statue, titled “The Fearless Girl,” was made by Kristen Visbal and was installed on Tuesday, on the eve of International Women’s Day. It is the work of State Street Global Advisors, the investment management division of State Street Corp. in Boston.
The statue is meant to draw attention to the need for more gender diversity on corporate boards. State Street Global Advisors is calling on the 3,500 companies that it invests in on behalf of its clients to take concrete steps to recruit women to its boards.
“A key contributor to effective independent board leadership is diversity of thought, which requires directors with different skills, backgrounds and expertise,” Ron O’Hanley, State Street Global Advisors' president and CEO, said in a press release.
Companies with strong female leadership generated 10.1% annual return on equity, compared with 7.4% for those without a “critical mass of women at the top,” according to a 2015 McKinsey Global Institute report that State Street Global Advisors cited in its release.
Despite the effect on ROE, a quarter of Russell 3000 companies do not have a woman on their board, the investment firm noted.
It is not merely doing an awareness campaign either. It said in the release that it would use its proxy voting power to influence change when necessary.