This little girl, done in bronze and sort of “smuggled” into position overnight (with a city permit allowing them) either says a lot about the future of business on Wall Street, or doesn’t say anything, depending on who you read and talk to. The statue, Fearless Girl, was dropped deliberately in front of another famous statue, Charging Bull, as a sort of symbol. She is supposed to represent future women standing up to Wall Street and corporations who have almost no female representation in board rooms and executive suites, demanding that this change, and soon.
Admirers think this is great. There’s a lot of detractors as well, though, pointing out that the statue was commissioned by an investment house that sells a branded package of stocks from companies with women on their board — and the plaque at Fearless Girl‘s feet is nothing more than advertising the package, complete with brand. It’s also pointed out that less than a third of the company’s own board is female, so shouldn’t they be putting their money where their mouth supposedly is?
Harper and I see this as a beginning, not an ending. Less than 30% representation certainly isn’t equal, but it’s a beginning. Societal mentality changes slowly — as slow as a glacier at times — but it changes. While as much progress as women have made in the corporate area in 45 years is about as slow as that glacier, remember that those big ice cubes have ground down mountains over time. It’s time to start improving corporate performance, yes. But it will come, one way or another.