State Street brings Fearless Girl statue to London

Statue depicting a defiant young girl unveiled in London in a bid to send a message about female leadership.

By Jonathan Watkins

The Fearless Girl campaign launched by State Street’s asset management arm to promote gender diversity at board and senior leadership levels has come to London with the now widely-recognised statue placed in the heart of the city.

Launched in 2017, the statue which depicts a defiant young girl was installed facing Wall Street’s charging bull in a bid to send a message about female leadership.

Another statue of the girl has now been located against the backdrop of St Paul’s Cathedral and opposite the London Stock Exchange for three months.

The statue garnered significant media attention following its launch in 2017, including some accusations of State Street of using it as an advertisement, while others labelled it as ‘fake corporate feminism’. The firm’s then-CEO Jay Hooley told Global Custodian at the time the reaction spoke “to the tension that exists in financial services when it comes to gender equality.”

According to State Street Global Advisors, since first launching the Fearless Girl campaign in 2017, 445 of 1,265 companies identified as not having a single female board member have responded to the call to action by either adding a female director or committing to do so.

State Street Global Advisors has said that, starting in 2020 in the US, UK and Australian markets, and in 2021 in Japan, Canada and Continental Europe, it will vote against the entire slate of board members on the nominating committee if a company does not have at least one woman on its board, and has not engaged in successful dialogue on State Street Global Advisors’ board gender diversity program for three consecutive years.

“We are delighted to bring this impactful campaign to London and continue to take a stand for the important issues of gender diversity at the board and senior leadership level,” said Lori Heinel, deputy global Chief Investment Officer for State Street Global Advisors. “Studies have shown that companies with greater gender diversity at the senior leadership levels generate better returns than their peers. That drives our conviction to continue our engagement and voting efforts as we look to make further progress on this important topic.”

The launch in London comes just days before International Women’s Day.