His hooves hit the pavement. The steam roles off his nose like the engine to a train, getting ready to derail anything that crosses its path. His eyes as dark as the wooden chess piece he just moved, locked in on his target – the matador.
She stares. She waits. Her patience is legendary. It has come with a price, a league of women before her. She comes without the blood-stained cloth, no need for parlor tricks or fancy waves of the hand. No, hers are placed firmly on her hips, spine slightly arched. She looks upon him without fear, whispering underneath her breath, “I’m Ready! Are you?” Her opponent not the bull, but history.
We all know the saying “take the bull by the horns.” Sometimes you need to confront a very difficult situation, deal bravely, decisively, and take it ‘head on.’ It seems one little girl took those words quite literally and now she is one of the most high-profiled young women on Wall Street. They call her simply the ‘Fearless Girl.’
The ‘Fearless Girl’ is a 50-inch bronze statue located on Wall Street in New York City. She was installed to honor International Women’s Day on March 8, 2017 to help draw attention to the pay gap between men and women and gender inequality. The statue was originally scheduled to only be standing until April 2nd but New York’s Mayor, Bill de Blasio, announced she would be standing tall, hands on hips, until next year’s International Women’s Day –March 8, 2018.
Kristen Visbal, an American sculptor who specializes in bronze compositions, created the sculpture which was later installed by State Street Global Advisors, an investment service company. SSGA has seen gender equality pay off in other ways. Its SPDR SSGA Gender Diversity Index ETF launched in March last year and was the top-selling exchange traded fund of 2016. It invests in U.S. companies that advance women to boards and director positions. Since it’s launch last year, it has raised more than $200 million. SSGA are encouraging companies, especially those on Wall Street, to increase gender diversity, asserting research shows that businesses with more diversity have a stronger financial performance.
A plaque below the statue simply reads, “Know the power of women in leadership. SHE makes a difference.” Quickly she became a popular tourist attraction, being welcomed across the world as a representation of women’s rights.
The ‘Fearless Girl’ stands to face the “Charging Bull” statue. The Charging Bull was originally a temporary installation created by Italian artist Arturo Di Modica in 1989 to represent the strength and backbone of America. It soon became an iconic feature for Wall Street and supporters of the ‘Fearless Girl’ are hoping to see the same outcome. Since her installment, more than 28,000 people have signed a petition to keep her there.
And there she will stay, at least for the next year. She knows adversity, it was taught to her as it was taught to her mother and her grandmother – her sisters. Her wisdom has been gained thru years of patience but her determination is what will win the battle.
Waiting, daring, hoping. The bull is not her opponent, it never was. Perhaps better to see the bull for what he represents. Male dominance, aggressiveness, power. These three words represent the US workforce. A workforce which encompasses both men and women. So how can it be that women only earn 78 cents for every dollar a man earns? The percentage of female CEO’s in Fortune 500 companies is as low as 4%. On Wall Street, a mere 10% of female professionals are on the trading floor. These numbers are brutal to the core, yet honest. They are the horns of the bull bucking and bruising.
The ‘Fearless Girl’ stature clearly stating we will no longer be the bull, chasing the same piece of red cloth. We choose to be the matador, we choose to be the ‘Fearless Girl’. She is the one that stands defiant, determined, and destined. She is the one staring history in the face and speaking volumes for the millions of women behind her, beside her and ahead of her.
-Haley Corkery │ Public Relations Specialist