Fearless Girl is on the move.
The much-beloved statue will depart her perch opposite the iconic Charging Bull to stare down some new scenery: The New York Stock Exchange, the Daily News has learned.
City Hall and the financial services firm that commissioned Fearless Girl, State Street Global Advisors, will announce the move Thursday.
Our goal is to promote the power of having women in leadership, and placing her right next to the New York Stock Exchange is really the perfect metaphor, Cyrus Taraporevala, president and CEO of State Street Global Advisors, told The News.
The move comes as the city and the company sought a more permanent home for the popular statue and one with fewer safety issues than her current spot in a Bowling Green median, which gets overrun with onlookers who often stand in the busy street.
Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen said the city wanted a more pedestrian-friendly location that was downtown and retained the symbolic power of the original.
“What could be more important than the sort of epicenter of corporate power?” Glen asked. “And clearly, the Fearless Girl was built to talk about that.”
The statue first popped up just over a year ago, on International Women’s Day. The firm placed it there, they said, to encourage more women on corporate boards and the plucky girl, with her hands defiantly on her hips, immediately struck a chord with New Yorkers and visitors. What was supposed to be a short-lived installation was extended for more than a year.
“It was, to be honest, really overwhelming but overwhelming in an inspiring way,” Lynn Blake, an executive vice president at State Street, said. “The placement was really for a very specific reason and a call to action, to holding stocks in our portfolios to increasing gender diversity because of all the research that’s been done by countless organizations that shows greater gender diversity leads to better results.”
Glen, herself a veteran of Goldman Sachs, said the statue became a “much, much more serious symbol of trying to deal with a broken status quo for women” especially those in the corporate world. She said women need concrete action noting that New York is home to 55 Fortune 500 companies, and only one with a female CEO but that symbols are important, too.
“I just think it’s really important, given this time in history, that we do everything we can to raise awareness around these very serious issues confronting the lack of economic and political and financial power for women,” Glen said.
And State Street says they’ve seen concrete results from the campaign. When it began, the firm reached out to more than 700 companies in the U.S., the U.K. and Australia that had no women on their boards. But 152 have since added a woman, Taraporevala said, and another 34 have pledged to do so.
But the statue was not without controversy. The bulls sculptor, Arturo Di Modica, decried its placement, and some bashed it as corporate feminism. Glen said that was noise compared to the statue’s work in reminding people that women don’t earn equal pay, or have enough spots on boards or in legislatures.
State Street, meanwhile, didn’t mind the criticism.
“If it even gets some people thinking about stuff, and they decide they don’t like it, we’re still getting people to think about the issue,” Taraporevala said.
State Street was also criticized for its own hiring the company reached a $5 million settlement over gender pay discrimination in response to an audit brought by the federal government. Blake said the company didn’t agree with the government’s methodology or findings, but settled to avoid litigation. Taraporevala noted a third of the company’s board members are women.
Due to safety concerns about traffic and potential terror attacks using cars the city said it was also exploring moving the Charging Bull itself. But while Fearless Girl was envisioned to look right at the bull, he won’t be joining her in the plaza outside the Exchange and Taraporevala said he wasn’t worried that the art would suffer for that.
I think Fearless Girl stands on her own, he said.