In Focus: 'Fearless Girl' a Symbol of the Future or Lot of Bull?

By Kathy Gurchiek Mar 13, 2017

"Fearless Girl," installed on Wall Street last week, has captured the world's attention. The firm behind the 50-inch bronze artwork, sculpted by a woman, has said the point was to draw attention to the lack of women serving on the boards of U.S. corporations. But the portrayal of a 9-year-old girl defiantly staring down the Charging Bull—Wall Street's symbol of strength—is being questioned in some quarters. Why not a statue of a woman exuding strength, some ask, instead of an adorable child?

'Fearless Girl' Statue Stares Down Wall Street's Iconic Bull  
State Street Global Advisors, the Boston-based investment giant, erected the statue for International Women's Day on March 8 to make a point: There's a dearth of women on the boards of the largest U.S. corporations. Twenty-five percent of the Russell 3000—a broad index of U.S. companies—have no women on their boards, according to State Street, which manages many of their assets.
(US News & World Report)   

There's No Bull in the Message Behind 'Fearless Girl' Statue
Perhaps the turning point of gender equality in corporate America will come down to the simple but powerful act of commissioning a piece of art. The "Fearless Girl" statue, which sits in Lower Manhattan in the Financial District of New York City, has gone viral in a way that no study on the importance of women in the boardroom ever has.
(Boston Globe)

Why the 'Fearless Girl' Statue Is Kinda Bull 
Don't be fooled by this super-sophisticated bit of feminist marketing, used to make us feel good and do little that is substantive. State Street, a Boston-based investment management firm, said the girl depicted by the statue represents the future but it failed to mention that the company doesn't actually have a lot of women on its own board―or at the top of its leadership team.
(Huffington Post)

[SHRM members-only toolkit: Developing Organizational Leaders]

My Two-Cents on Wall Street's 'Fearless Girl' Statue: Why Not a Grown Woman? 
Ron O'Hanley, who heads investment firm State Street, said the statue is about improving "diversity of thought." He wants to send a message to its male-dominated industry: Hire more women. However, if the world has learned just one thing in the past 24 years—or at least during the last presidential election—it should be the difference between confronting an adorably defiant chin-up little girl and standing toe-to-toe with a grown woman who demands and deserves to be recognized as an equal.  
(New York Daily News)

Call on HR Competencies to Navigate Office Politics 
According to research from the Peterson Institute on International Economics on the profitability of gender diversity, a positive relationship exists between the number of women in leadership positions in an organization and that organization's performance levels. Other studies from the Pershing and McKinsey & Co. consultancies have shown that employees prefer female leaders over male leaders. Yet women are still struggling to gain parity with men in leadership positions. Could becoming adept at negotiating office politics move them forward?  
(SHRM Online)


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