The Fearless Girl statue that went viral for facing off against Wall Street’s Charging Bull challenges the NYSE next.
Fearless Girl is standing up to the New York Stock Exchange next.
The bronze statue of a defiant little girl that went viral for staring down the Financial District’s iconic Charging Bull last year will soon level her steely gaze toward the male-dominated Wall Street trading floor, New York City officials announced Thursday.
The diminutive four-foot-tall monument created by sculptor Kristen Visbal was first planted in front of the Bull on International Women’s Day last year by U.S. financial firm State Street Global Advisors to call out corporate America’s gender gap, and to encourage more companies to include women on their boards. The feminist statue featured a fierce little girl in a power pose with her fists on her hips, and her skirt and ponytail whipped in an invisible breeze to mirror the tail of the Charging Bull she was challenging. She will relocate to the NYSE by the end of the year.
“We are proud to be home to the Fearless Girl. She is a potent 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,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio in a statement. “This move to a new location will ensure that her message and impact will continue to be heard, as well as improve access for visitors.”
State Street Global Advisors reported that more than 150 companies have added a female director to their boards since Fearless Girl first made her stand. “Our hope is that by moving her closer to the NYSE she will encourage more companies to take action and, more broadly, that she will continue to inspire people from all walks of life on the issue of gender diversity,” the company said.
But not everyone has loved her. The Bull’s sculptor, Arturo Di Modica, complained that she infringed on his work and exploited his original statue for commercial purposes, but he has not filed a lawsuit. And muralist Alex Gardega briefly put up a papier-mâché statue of a pug peeing on Fearless Girl in protest, but he told Moneyish that he took it down after just three hours because passersby hated it, and some tried walking off with it. “I took it [down] to save its life,” said.
State Street Global Advisors was also criticized for not practicing what its own Fearless Girl was preaching; it paid a $5 million last October to settle U.S. Labor Department allegations that it had underpaid female and black executives.
The controversial statue struck up such a conversation, however, that she went viral. Politicians including Chelsea Clinton and NYC public advocate Letitia James called for letting the statue stand. So the city extended her initial week-long permit to make her a permanent installation downtown.
Now officials are moving her to the NYSE in part to encourage more companies to bring women on board, but also because her current location on the Bowling Green pedestrian median in the middle of Broadway has become a traffic hazard. Visitors often step into the street while crowding around both Fearless Girl and the Bull to get the perfect picture. So she will soon stand in a pedestrian-only part of where Wall and Broad streets intersect, also the site of George Washington’s inauguration as the country’s first president in 1789. There’s some talk of moving the Charging Bull, as well, but Di Modica’s lawyer Norman Siegel told Reuters said the sculptor would need to give his permission first.
For its part, the NYSE welcomes its new neighbor. “We eagerly await the arrival of Fearless Girl to her fitting new home, standing her ground and training her unblinking eyes on our engine of progress and free enterprise,” NYSE President Thomas Farley said in a statement.
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