On International Women’s Day, the world woke up to images of a statue depicting a young girl standing defiantly in front of Wall Street’s “Charging Bull”. This statue, known as the “Fearless Girl”, was created by artist Kristen Visbal and installed by State Street Global Advisors to raise awareness about the lack of female representation at the senior corporate level.
The “Fearless Girl”, with her hair tied up in a ponytail and wearing a wind-blown dress, has resonated with many individuals, especially women. Her hands are placed on her hips as she stares down the bull statue across from her, projecting a sense of power and determination despite her young age.
Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York recently announced that “Fearless Girl” would remain in the Financial District until early 2018. In addition, an online petition has been created which calls for the statute’s permanent placement across the “Charging Bull”. As of current writing, it has garnered almost 30,000 signatures.
So why has a simple bronze statue captured the hearts and minds of the world? Personally, I’m encouraged by the fact that the “Fearless Girl” has received such a positive reaction. Critics argue that placing it across the “Charging Bull” would taint the “spirit” of Wall Street – they explain that the bronze bull has always been a symbol of New York’s Financial District, and should remain as such. The “Fearless Girl”, they add, is simply a marketing ploy by a company that wishes to demonstrate its support for equality in the corporate world.
For me, the bronze statue of a young girl is much more than an advertisement – it’s a symbol of hope, strength and intelligence. At some point in life, every woman has related to the “Fearless Girl”. As females, we may feel like second-class citizens who are constantly denied access to a high-quality education, equal pay or senior leadership positions, as demonstrated throughout Canadian history and in many countries around the world.
As a proponent of gender equality, I will be the first to argue that the statue is not feminist propaganda, and it’s certainly not an object to be humped on. The message behind the statue is simple yet profound: no matter your gender, you will be able to overcome any adversity you face in life.
The “Fearless Girl” has affected me in such a way that I’ve even started using it as my screensaver. Every morning when I open my laptop, I’m filled with a quiet strength and positive energy. I’m reminded that I’ll be able to get through the day, even with all its challenges. All females should be empowered to achieve their goals, no matter how lofty they seem. Simply picture the “Fearless Girl” as she faces the “Charging Bull” with an unyielding and quiet determination. Seeing the statue never ceases to remind me that females are more than capable of making their own choices and creating positive change – in these ways, we can all be fearless women.