State Street Challenges Wall Street’s Bull With ‘Fearless Girl’ Statue

FacebookTwitterLinkedIn

State Street Fearless Girl statue International Women's Day 2017 Wall Street

In honor of International Women’s Day, State Street (the $2.5 trillion asset management firm whose CMO, Hannah Grove, we interviewed in November) is sponsoring “The Fearless Girl” — a statue of a daring young girl, standing strong in front of an iconic symbol of power in America — the bull statue on Wall Street.

The world’s third-largest asset manager installed the bronze statue of a defiant girl on Tuesday morning. She’s not only challenging Wall Street’s charging bull statue, but its own bull, you might say.

State Street Fearless Girl statue International Women's Day 2017 Wall Street

As State Street puts it, “We wanted to highlight the power of women in leadership. So we made room in the one place business couldn’t ignore.”

The Fearless Girl statue, in place for one week, supports the fact that companies with women in leadership perform better, with a higher return on equity (36.4%) for companies with strong female leadership, compared to companies without a critical mass of women at the top.

It’s also challenging corporate America—the 3,500 companies that State Street Global Advisors invests in on behalf of clients—to help create that critical mass by adding women to their boards.

And in a related move, signed the British Treasury’s Women in Finance Charter, a pledge to promote gender diversity — “the foundation of all strong organizations”:

The Fearless Girl is a symbol of the power of female leadership both today and tomorrow. This initiative was developed by State Street with its agency partners at McCann.


Find out more in State Street’s blog post below, penned by State Street Senior Managing Director and Head of Strategy Jill Mavro:

State Street Fearless Girl statue

Driving Gender Diversity with a Bold New Statement

As a 21-year veteran of the financial services industry and Head of the Strategic Relationship Group for SPDR® ETFs, I’ve had the privilege of attending countless industry events and conferences over the years. These events bring a range of talented executives together to share ideas and inspire change. Yet, I’m often struck by the lack of women in attendance, with men generally outnumbering women by a wide margin.

It’s time to improve gender diversity in corporate America. Promoting leadership opportunities for women in financial services, and all industries, provides companies with new perspectives and approaches that may lead to better business results.

To celebrate International Women’s Day, State Street Global Advisors offered a new symbol of women in leadership. Standing strong and confident, a new iconic landmark arrives in the one place no one can ignore—New York City’s financial district.

State Street Fearless Girl statue International Women's Day 2017 Wall Street

Studies have shown that companies with more women in senior leadership roles may perform better than their less gender-diverse peers. Specifically, companies with strong female leaders have generated higher return on equity. In fact, an MSCI study showed that companies with strong female leadership generated a return on equity of 10.1% per year versus 7.4% for those without a critical mass of women at the top, a 36.4% increase of average return on equity.1

Despite such compelling findings, corporate America continues to lack gender-diverse leadership. That’s why we have made it our mission to remind businesses of the value of gender diversity.

Last year, we created the SSGA Gender Diversity Index and SPDR SSGA Gender Diversity Index ETF (SHE) to demonstrate our support for advancing women through gender diversity in senior leadership positions. The fund invests in US large-capitalization companies that rank among the highest in their sector in achieving gender diversity across senior leadership. SHE offers a means to invest in companies that have demonstrated greater gender diversity within their sector, providing investors with a tool to inspire change and make an impact.

Now State Street Global Advisors is issuing—to the more than 3,500 companies we invest in on behalf of clients across three major regions (US, UK and Australia)—new gender diversity guidance designed to increase the number of women on corporate boards. As the third largest asset manager in the world and a significant shareholder,2 we believe that board diversity enhances board quality—bringing together directors with different skills, backgrounds and expertise.

Although there has been some progress made on the inclusion of women on corporate boards, still one out of every four Russell 3000 companies do not have even one woman on their board. And nearly 60% have fewer than 15% of their boards composed of women directors.3

As we proudly celebrate the first anniversary of SHE, we are taking our commitment to gender-diverse leadership one bold step further. Our statue has taken her place for all of Wall Street to see—a place where corporate America cannot help but notice her. In addition, and perhaps most importantly, we’re committed to helping boards achieve greater gender diversity through active dialogue and engagement with these companies and their board leadership.

Standing proudly for the promise and power of women in leadership, she is right where she belongs.

Learn more about SHE and the SSGA Gender Diversity Index at: spdrs.com/shecan.

FacebookTwitterLinkedIn