What happens when a trillion-dollar investor decides to create a unique reminder for the world that we are not doing enough to solve the diversity issues at the workplace?
The whole world stands up and takes notice and yes clicks some cool pictures too.
But the mastermind behind this unique campaign that encourages work places to create diversity on Boards, has actually created this campaign to make the work world not just take notice of the yawning gap, but also ‘act’ on upping the diversity quotient on Boards.
This mastermind is the world's third largest asset manager, State Street Global Advisors, a nearly $2.5 trillion investor and unit within State Street Corp., that installed a bronze statue of a defiant girl in front of Wall Street's iconic charging bull as part of its new campaign to pressure companies to add more women to their boards.
The campaign rolled out ahead of International Women's Day on March 8, 2017.
State Street further said that it will vote against boards if a company fails to take steps to increase its female membership. They also plan to send out a letter to 3,500 companies on Women’s Day asking the companies to take the necessary action in improving diversity.
State Street is a huge player in the index fund world, managing about 90% of its assets in passive funds, which are often investing in companies held in the Russell 3000 and FTSE. The company feels and has stated to that effect, that gender diversity is a way to improve company performance and increase shareholder value. "There has been a lot of discussion on this topic, but the needle hasn't moved materially. Currently nearly a quarter of boards represented in the Russell 3000 have no women at all." said Lori Heinel, the firm's deputy global chief investment officer.
The idea of the girl standing in the way of the raging bull is a head turner and would help largely in drawing attention to the issue of diversity on Boards. "One of the most iconic images on Wall Street is the charging bull. So, the idea of having a female sort of stand against the bull, or stand up to the bull, just struck us as a very clever but also creative and engaging way to make that statement," Heinel said. "Even though it's a little girl, her stance is one of determination, forwardness and being willing to challenge and take on the status quo."
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," but with the city official’s collaboration. Passers-by and tourists took pictures with the ‘girl’. The girl is expected to stay there for a month or so.
Let’s hope that this little girl (statue) helps not just the workplaces to take cognizance of the fact that women need a better recognition in the work place, but also helps women to #takecharge of their situations, roles and lives and show the world that if they decide to do anything, anything is possible.