The Fate of Fearless Girl
The City of New York announced last week that "Fearless Girl" will be staying on Wall Street for at least another year, and the news was met with a mixed response.
On the surface, the statue appears to be a feisty symbol of girl power, something we (and many others) quickly rallied behind. Her plaque simply reads: "Know the power of women in leadership. SHE makes a difference."
But a closer look brings several considerable concerns to light: why is American womanhood depicted as a small, cute child? Also, the "SHE" referenced on the plaque is the ticker for State Street Global Advisors Gender Diversity Index ETF, revealing that this was a sly advertising ploy. And is the core concept of this ETF a step forward for gender diversity in the workplace, or another way to monetize on a hot-button topic? After all, the investment firm behind the statue has received flak for employing but a handful women as executives and its parent company has been repeatedly cited for ethics violations. "It’s hard to take on Wall Street when you’re funded by Wall Street," Cara Marsh Sheffler of The Guardian reported.
So how can marketers take on controversial issues in an authentic way? Is it possible? We think so, but by creating buzz around actual change. The City of New York itself could have put forth a statue more representative of women’s achievements, and State Street could have raised its % of women in leadership positions. Now that would be worth talking about.