For decades, a bronze statue of a charging bull has stood in New York City’s Financial District, representing the strength and power of the American people. Now the sculpture has a companion: a statue of a young girl, representing the future, the company who put it there said.
Boston-based State Street Global Advisors (SSGA) commissioned the statue from artist Kristen Visbal for International Women’s Day to call on companies around the world to address gender inequality and the gender pay gap. The company said that one in four of the 3,000 largest traded US companies don’t have a single woman on their board.
“A key contributor to effective independent board leadership is diversity of thought, which requires directors with different skills, backgrounds and expertise,” SSGA President Ron O’Hanley said in a statement. “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.”
SSGA isn’t immune to these problems. According to BBC, just three of its 11 board members are women.
These companies aren’t alone, with gender equality remaining a big problem around the world. In the US, women still earn about 79 cents for every dollar that men make for the same amount of work. And according to the United Nations’ 2015 report on the progress of the world’s women, the gap between women and men remains particularly stubborn on issues of work globally: Women do more unpaid household work than men, and get paid less when they do work in the formal economy alongside men.
A statue of a young girl and a day dedicated to gender parity alone won’t fix these issues. But by bringing attention to them, they can at least get the conversation going.