New York Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Wednesday evening that the bronze statue of a fearless little girl defiantly staring down the famous “Charging Bull” statue near Wall Street will stay in lower Manhattan through April 2.
De Blasio revealed how long the much-discussed statue would stay in a tweet at 6 p.m. on March 8, International Women’s Day.
“Our future rests in the hands of fearless girls,” the caption reads.
A spokesperson for the Mayor’s Office told Yahoo News that the temporary permit for the art project had previously been only for March 7-12, but that it had been extended to April 2.
She said the statue is on Department of Transportation property, so the question of whether the statue will become a permanent fixture of Bowling Green park falls to them.
The statue was put up the night before; State Street Global Advisors (SSGA), a $2.47 trillion asset manager, commissioned artist Kristen Visbal to create it.
Our future rests in the hands of fearless girls. pic.twitter.com/RRXHqap7iA
— Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) March 8, 2017
The elementary school-aged girl stands directly in the bull’s path in the heart of New York’s financial district. She is intended to represent the future.
State Street is calling on more than 3,500 companies, which represent more than $30 trillion in market capitalization, to take major steps to increase the number of women on their boards. State Street invests in these companies on behalf of its clients.
Wednesday is also the one-year anniversary of the SPDR SSGA Gender Diversity Index exchange-traded fund, which is represented by the ticker symbol “SHE.”
Ron O’Hanley, the president and chief executive officer of SSGA, said in a statement that a key to effective board leadership is diversity of thought, which requires a variety of expertise, skills and backgrounds.
“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,” O’Hanley said.
SSGA cited a Modern Index Strategy Indexes (MSCI) study that found that companies with “strong female leadership” tend to profit more than those without a significant number of women in top positions — a return on equity of 10.1 percent per year as opposed to 7.4 percent.
One out of four Russell 3000 companies does not have a woman on its board, and nearly 60 percent have fewer than 15 percent female directors on their boards, according to SSGA.
Rakhi Kumar, the head of corporate governance at SSGA, said that it reviewed gender diversity on financial boards by comparing Australian, British and American markets.
“Most large cap company boards in these markets have at least one female director but have yet to fully embrace gender equality in their ranks,” Kumar said in a statement. “We believe boards have an important role to play in increasing gender diversity and believe our guidance can help directors take action now.”
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Back in December 1989, Italian-American sculptor Arturo Di Modica unveiled the “Charging Bull” as a piece of guerrilla art in front of the New York Stock Exchange. Authorities initially removed the statue, but it soon became a permanent fixture a short walk away thanks to its widespread popularity.
Unlike Di Modica, SSGA discussed the art project with the New York City government to ensure that it stayed up at least temporarily.
The bull has long been a symbol of financial optimism and aggressive decisions in a market where share prices are expected to rise. In the aftermath of the 1987 stock market crash, Di Modica said, his statue represented the “strength and power of the American people.”
Despite the artist’s original intentions, however, many see the Wall Street bull as symbolic of what they consider the excesses of capitalism: economic inequality and corporate greed. The bull was incorporated into a poster promoting the original Occupy Wall Street protest on Sept. 17, 2011, in nearby Zuccotti Park. In imagery similar to the fearless girl, a ballerina is seen posing atop the bull.
A representative for the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation redirected Yahoo News to City Hall when reached for comment.
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