As the world celebrates International Women’s Day today, a Wall Street firm put up a statue of a girl in front of Lower Manhattan’s well-known bronze charging bull, to fearlessly stare it down.
State Street Global Advisors (SSGA), a nearly $2.5trn investor and unit within State Street Corp., is rolling out the campaign. “A lot of people talk about gender diversity, but we really felt we had to take it to a broader level,” said Anne McNally, State Street Corp.
Placing the small, grade school-aged girl in front of the massive bull on the eve of international women’s day was a way to grab attention to the lack of gender diversity on corporate boards and the pay gap of women working in financial services.
The asset management business of State Street Corp. is calling on the more than 3,500 companies that SSGA invests on behalf of clients, representing more than $30trn in market capitalization to take intentional steps to increase the number of women on their corporate boards.
“We believe good corporate governance is a function of strong, effective and independent board leadership”, said Ron O’Hanley, president and chief executive officer of SSGA.
“A key contributor to effective independent board leadership is diversity of thought, which requires directors with different skills, backgrounds and expertise. Today, we are calling on companies to take concrete steps to increase gender diversity on their boards and have issued clear guidance to help them begin to take action.”
“The sculpture was created by artist Kristen Visbal. State Street installed the statue in collaboration with city officials and expects the statue to stay for up to a month”, said McNally.