(Fixes typographical errors in paragraphs 4, 9)
By Peter A Szekely
NEW YORK, March 7 As many American women prepare
to draw attention to their role in the workplace, a Wall Street
firm on Tuesday put up a statue of a girl in front of Lower
Manhattan's well-known bronze charging bull, as if to fearlessly
stare it down.
Placing the diminutive, grade school-aged girl in front of
the massive bull on the eve of International Women's Day was a
way of calling attention to the lack of gender diversity on
corporate boards and the pay gap of women working in financial
services, a spokeswoman for State Street Global Advisors said.
"A lot of people talk about gender diversity, but we really
felt we had to take it to a broader level," said Anne McNally,
whose firm is an investment management subsidiary of State
In conjunction with International Women's Day on Wednesday,
many American women are planning to stay home from work, which
has led some schools to cancel classes.
Organizers asked women who cannot afford to miss a day of
work to limit their shopping to female-owned businesses or to
Although women have made some headway against the glass
ceiling, State Street said one out of four of the companies that
make up the Russell 3000 Index still have no female
representation on their boards.
"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," State Street
Global Advisors CEO Ron O'Hanley said in a statement.
Much the same as the charging bull, the little bronze girl
by artist Kristen Visbal was put up in the wee hours of the
morning as "guerilla art," McNally said. But, unlike the bull,
the firm discussed it with the city beforehand so that it could
remain at least temporarily.
"We're actively pursuing that it stays for a month," she
said. "If the city decides that it should stay in perpetuity,
we're absolutely on board with that."
The bull, sculpted by Italian-born artist Arturo Di Modica,
was initially taken down after he quietly placed it in front of
the New York Stock Exchange in December 1989. But it was later
given a permanent home, about a five-minute walk away on
Broadway, in response to public support.
(Reporting by Peter Szekely; Editing by Daniel Trotta and