Real Leaders

Fearless Girl Confronts Bull, Then Moves To Wall Street

Fearless Girl is a bronze sculpture by artist Kristen Visbal, that was commissioned by State Street Global Advisors (SSGA), a large asset management company 2017, in anticipation of International Women’s Day that year.

The statue shows a girl four foot high, and represents female empowerment. Symbolically, it stands across from the New York Stock Exchange Building in the Financial District of Manhattan, New York City.

Fearless Girl was commissioned to advertise an index fund that was comprised of gender-diverse companies with a high percentage of women within senior leadership positions. A plaque below the statue states: “Know the power of women in leadership. SHE makes a difference,” with “SHE” being both a descriptive pronoun and the fund’s NASDAQ ticker symbol.

The statue’s first location was at Bowling Green, at the intersection of Broadway and Morris Street, facing down the Charging Bull statue. But, following complaints from that statue’s sculptor, Fearless Girl was removed in November 2018 and relocated to its current location near the stock exchange. A plaque with footprints was placed at the original site of Fearless Girl, where people could “stand in her shoes.”

The bull’s creator, Sicilian-born artist Arturo Di Modica, claimed copyright infringement and his attorneys said that the three-and-a-half-ton bull, was improperly commercialized and “transformed into a negative force and a threat” by the 250-pound girl.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted: “Men who don’t like women taking up space are exactly why we need the Fearless Girl.”

Fearless Girl is meant to send a message about workplace gender diversity and encourage companies to recruit women to their boards.

The creative brief from State Street Global Advisors specified that the statue should depict a girl with hands on her hips and chin up, with a height of 36 inches. Visbal and her collaborators increased the height to 50 inches, to better match the size of the Charging Bull statue. “I made sure to keep her features soft; she’s not defiant, she’s brave, proud, and strong, not belligerent,” said Visbal. She modeled the sculpture on two ordinary children from Delaware, “so that everyone can relate to the Fearless Girl.”

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