Fearless girl puts bull in knots

It’s strange irony when the maker of a muscle-clad bronze bull gets worked up over a straight-up defiant bronze girl.

The Wall Street firm, State Street Global Advisors, commissioned artist Kristen Visbal to create “Fearless Girl,” both to represent their index fund of gender diverse companies and to send a message to Wall Street about the need for gender diversity in companies and on corporate boards.

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Arturo Di Modica, the creator of the 7100 pound bull, claimed the 250 pound girl statue was getting in the way of his bull’s impact. And that’s precisely the point: the girl symbolizes women who simply because of their gender are forced to push against the status quo.

Take a moment to reflect on the harrowing stories of sexual harassment and assaults women have bravely shared in 2017 — they’re relevant here. Most of the incidents happened in the workplace. I have my own story: While working for two brothers who owned a small import-export business many years ago, I was fired for not dating one of them. “You wouldn’t go to dinner with my brother so I’m sorry we have to let you go,” I was told when I came into work one morning. When you don’t know your rights and fear retaliation for speaking up, defiance doesn’t show up as an option.

For women to reach parity — on Wall Street, in technology, and across all areas of society — women and their male allies must acknowledge the challenges, biases and stereotypes that drive our attitudes and actions, and work together to reframe and reshape how we live our lives.

© 2017. Roberta Guise is founder and president of FemResources.