The rhapsodic praise showered on “Fearless Girl” when she first confronted Wall Street’s famous “Charging Bull” statue in 2017 rings a bit more hollow today. The financial firm responsible for the bronze sculpture championing gender equality recently received a low rating for the diversity of its gender equality fund.
Created by artist Kristen Visbal and installed by State Street Global Advisors (SSGA) on Wall Street for International Women’s Day, “Fearless Girl” was initially deployed as a marketing stunt for the firm’s SHE exchange-traded fund before taking on a life of its own. The bronze statue eventually found a permanent home in front of the New York Stock Exchange in April 2018. Earlier this month, artist Manuel Oliver (the father of a Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting victim) dressed the sculpture in a bulletproof vest to advocate for pragmatic gun laws in advance of the midterm elections.
“Fearless Girl” was initially envisioned as an attempt to restore public faith in the financial firm. Back in March 2017, Jilian Steinhauer wrote for Hyperallergic about the hypocrisy behind the statue. SSGA is a division of State Street, which has a board of directors including only 27% women. The company has also weathered SEC charges for misleading investors during the 2008 subprime mortgage crisis; battled a 2009 class action lawsuit for mismanaging retirement funds; and paid over $64 million in January 2017 to resolve fraud charges.
As You Sow is a shareholder advocacy group, which recently released a free Gender Equality Funds tool analyzing investors through the lenses of gender diversity and balance based on indicators from a company’s leadership, management, and workforce. It then compares those statistics to a company’s fund to create a gender equality portfolio score. (The company has also released similar tools for Fossil Free Funds, Deforestation Free Funds, Tobacco Free Funds, and Weapon Free Funds.)
The funders of “Fearless Girl” received 47 out of 100 points for their overall gender equality score. The SHE ETF (shorthand for exchange-traded fund) ranked 222 out of 540 comparable funds. Ironically, some of State Street funds not specifically marketed toward gender diversity scored as high as 61 out of 100.
“We’re going to have conversations with them,” As You Sow’s Andrew Behar told ImpactAlpha. “We want to understand how they’re picking their funds and what the methodology is. I want to talk to the fund managers.”
Behar cautioned that the rankings may be distorted by incomplete data. The rankings do not reflect shareholder engagement activities such as voting against all-male boards of directors. State Street, which controls $2.8 trillion in total assets, said in September that it voted against more than 500 chairs of nominating committees on boards without women in each of the last two proxy seasons.
Although the report is unlikely to deflate the expectations of the eager tourists who visit “Fearless Girl” on Wall Street every day, it sheds new light on the limits of such financial firms to deliver on their overtures of gender equality. And lest we forget, the feminist statue was originally supposed to be a big, bronze cow.
“Our bodies are not that cheap,” said one Iraqi artist who signed an open letter to the biennale’s curators.
Museums will have to install “prominently placed” placards alongside the works, according to a new suite of laws signed by Governor Kathy Hochul.
Choose from over 140 courses for adults and youth ages 13 to 17, including options for beginning, intermediate, and advanced students. Enroll by August 23 for an early bird discount.
Scientists borrowed the ecological “unseen species” model to estimate how many works of medieval European literature have gone extinct.
As bodily autonomy and workers’ rights remain under constant and often intertwined threat, The Work of Love, the Queer of Labor reminds us of what is still at stake.
The Brooklyn organization is now accepting new project inquiries for its fee-based fabrication services in printmaking, ceramics, and large-scale public art.
The emphasis in Semmel’s retrospective Skin in the Game is on the various points of view she has taken on herself — and, briefly, on others too.
The artist and former SWAIA chief operating officer and executive director has found a stable of dedicated collectors and a close-knit community at Santa Fe Indian Market.
The Newark Museum of Art Presents Jazz Greats: Classic Photographs from the Bank of America Collection
Photographers Antony Armstrong Jones, Milt Hinton, Chuck Stewart, Barbara Morgan, and more capture a breadth of legendary and local musicians and performance artists. On view through August 21.
Each voice in This Long Thread intersects to reveal the collective chronicles, struggles, and triumphs of women of color in today’s craft landscape.
Works by the Abeyta family of artists encourage thinking beyond activism and legislation as a means for political progress.
Despite faithfully recreating the story of the beloved comic book series, the TV show lacks the verve of the original.