As International Women's Day and the historic International Women's Strike began on Wednesday, many were sharing pictures of a newly installed statue in New York City showing a young woman standing defiantly in the face of the iconic Wall Street bull.
At first glance, the statute might read like the hopeful vision of a young feminist about to finally destroy capitalist patriarchy.
In reality, the statue is part of what AdWeek called a marketing "stunt" by a US$2.5 trillion Wall Street investment firm looking to increase profits with its brand of neoliberal feminism.
The statue, installed early Tuesday morning by the McCann Ad agency, is part of a push by State Street Global Advisors to increase gender diversity on corporate boards.
State Street CEO Ronald O'Hanley says multiple studies show that corporations with women in top positions outperform their rivals, so he wants the companies he invests in to increase female leadership.
"If someone could convince us that the absence of diversity or gender diversity is not a problem, we're leaving that open. Will they? I doubt it," O'Hanley, told the Wall Street Journal.
"One of the most iconic images on Wall Street is the charging bull. So the idea of having a female sort of stand against the bull or stand up to the bull just struck us as a very clever but also creative and engaging way to make that statement," said Lori Heinel, an investment officer with State Street. "Even though it's a little girl, her stance is one of determination, forwardness, and being willing to challenge and take on the status quo."
The McCann agency received a permit to install the statue — called "The Fearless Girl" — for a month but hopes that this example of "branded art" will stay much longer, according to AdWeek.
The original "Charging Bull" statue was itself installed without a permit after the stock market crash of 1987, yet given how popular it was on Wall Street, the city eventually allowed it to stay.