On Tuesday, CNN, in its inestimable wisdom and desire to champion women’s rights, actually saluted a bronze statue of a young girl for standing its ground fearlessly against the blizzard that hit New York.
"Fearless Girl" was installed the day before International Women's Day by State Street Global Advisors (SSGA) to publicize its attempt to increase the number of women on their clients' corporate boards. The roughly 50-inch-tall bronze statue was placed opposite Wall Street's famous charging-bull statue.
On March 7, State Street tweeted, “We wanted to highlight the power of women in leadership. So we made room in the one place business couldn't ignore.” Ron O'Hanley, president and CEO of SSGA, giving the keynote speech delivered at the Corporate Governance Symposium, stated:
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. A key contributor to effective independent board leadership is diversity of thought, which requires directors with different skills, backgrounds and expertise.
O’Hanley added, "Certain research shows that companies with greater levels of gender diversity have had stronger financial performance as well as fewer governance-related issues such as bribery, corruption, shareholder battles and fraud.” He told The Atlantic:
With the statue, we were very focused on wanting to send the right message. The artist, Kristen Visbal, was terrific in trying to understand what this commission was really about. Early renditions had a more confrontational pose. But the point was not that—it was not “You versus me.” The point was that where there once was just a you, now there’s a me, and we’re here together. I’m getting a little intergalactic on you! Sorry.
SSGA’s website stated:
There has been an overwhelming reaction to the girl since her arrival, with thousands of people taking to social media to express their support. We are encouraged by the positive response, as our goal was to raise awareness and drive a conversation around the need to improve gender diversity in corporate leadership roles.
As one of the largest investment managers in the world and a significant shareholder we believe that corporate board diversity enhances board quality and effectiveness as it brings together directors with different skills, backgrounds and expertise.
"New York's 'Fearless Girl' statue stands her ground against the Wall Street bull, even in the snow."
SSGA invests in over 3,500 companies in the U.S., U.K. and Australia, and represents more than $30 trillion in market capitalization.