Fearless Girl, the statue that has captured the hearts and Instagram feeds of millions since her debut in New York’s Bowling Green Park last March, is moving to a newer, even more prominent home right in front of the New York Stock Exchange.
The Office of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and State Street Global Advisors, the financial firm that sponsored the work, released dual announcements regarding the news today.
This means that Fearless Girl and her longtime adversary, sculptor Arturo Di Modica’s Charging Bull, will be parting ways … for now. The Mayor’s Office also confirmed that the city plans “a similar move to the vicinity of the stock exchange” for Charging Bull after the two statues spent more than a year locked in what seemed like an interminable face-off.
Di Modica has registered his very vocal disapproval of Fearless Girl in the past, but he will most likely be unable to prevent the new pairing.
“We are proud to be home to the Fearless Girl. She is a powerful symbol of the need for change at the highest levels of corporate America—and she will become a durable part of our city’s civic life,” said de Blasio in a statement. “This move to a new location will improve access for visitors and ensure that her message and impact continues to be heard. We’re grateful to State Street for their partnership in keeping the Fearless Girl here in New York City.”
A statement from Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer read: “I’d love it if [Fearless Girl] could stare down the Charging Bull for the rest of time, but even if she can’t, I’m glad she will stay in the neighborhood and remind those who pass by the Stock Exchange that it’s past time for companies to put more women in boardrooms and in charge.”
Sources told Adweek in February that Fearless Girl would almost certainly be moving—and that she and the bull would ultimately stay together. Those predictions proved accurate, though it is not clear precisely where the two will stand in the NYSE space. The release states that Fearless Girl will be facing the exchange.
SSGA chief marketing officer Stephen Tisdalle told Adweek that Fearless Girl was “not a political statement” and “never meant to be anything longer than a one-week permit” when it was first installed last March by the company’s agency of record, McCann New York.
Its purpose was to encourage the companies in which SSGA invests to increase gender diversity on their boards. “Over the long term, companies that have greater gender diversity over-perform,” Tisdalle said, adding that his organization has “been able to stand out and lead the category on this important topic” thanks to the popularity of the statue.
Fearless Girl now serves as the public face of SSGA, but the company has made other moves supporting gender diversity in the past. For example, it created the Gender Diversity Index in 2016.
Tisdalle also claimed that other major asset management groups announced similar policy changes “within six to eight weeks” of Fearless Girl’s debut. According to the company’s own numbers, the total amount of shareholder assets dedicated to increasing board diversity has exploded in the past year, going from $2.2 trillion to more than $13 trillion.
“Over 700 companies that we reached out to didn’t have single woman on their boards,” said Tisdalle. “Over the course of the past year, 152 of them did change the composition of their boards, with another 34 who have given indication that they, too, are going to be changing the composition of their boards as a result of our outreach.”
This year, SSGA also expanded the program to companies in Canada and Japan. Regarding speculation about similar statues in those countries, Tisdalle said, “Right now we are focused on reinstalling Fearless Girl literally right in center of world’s financial capital. But there are other such places and offices around the world, and we believe she has a role to play there as well—so stay tuned.”
The move will be completed by the end of 2018, according to the Mayor’s Office.