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The Wall Street Bull Statue Now Faces A Defiant Girl

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If you’ve ever been to that financial haven of New York City, Wall Street, then you’re familiar with the charging bull statue that sits on the sidewalk. Meant to represent the “bull” market, it has long been a fixture of the Financial District. And now, a new statue stands across from it—one of a defiant young girl.

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Installed by State Street Global Advisors, the world’s third-largest asset manager, the statue was installed ahead of International Women’s Day on March 8. The statue comes as part of State Street’s new campaign that encourages companies to add more women to their boards.

And while gender diversity in the workforce is a force of social good, it’s also smart business. State Street says gender diversity is effective in improving company performance and increasing shareholder value. Unfortunately, despite the ongoing conversation, women are still underrepresented on boards.

“There has been a lot of discussion on this topic, but the needle hasn’t moved materially,” Lori Heinel, State Street’s deputy global chief investment officer, told Business Insider in an interview following the unveiling of the statue, a move that others in the finance world have responded positively to.

As it stands, nearly 25 percent of the boards in the Russell 3000 (an index of the 3,000 largest U.S.-traded stocks where all the underlying companies are incorporated in the states) are completely devoid of women, Heinel said, quoting Institutional Shareholder Services data.

The statue, which will stand for a month, is a way to draw attention to that glaring problem. State Street says it will deal harshly with companies that don’t swiftly take steps to add women to their boards in the near future. The money manager has sent a letter to 3,500 companies encouraging them to take action to improve gender diversity.

“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,” Heinel told Business Insider. “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.”