Fearless Girl statue in London promotes female leaders

Fearless Girl statue Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Londoners have a new pal to pose with

A bronze statue of a defiant girl has been installed in London's financial district to highlight the importance of female leaders in business.

Fearless Girl, by Kristen Visbal, will be outside the London Stock Exchange on Paternoster Square until June.

It is a copy of a statue that became famous for "staring down" Wall Street's bull after it was unveiled in New York City in 2017.

London companies said the girl stood for "progress" that must be made.

Image copyright State Street Global Advisors
Image caption Fearless Girl was created by sculptor Kristen Visbal

State Street Global Advisors (SSGA), the asset management business behind the campaign, said research showed companies with gender diversity in their leadership teams outperformed those without it.

"We are delighted to bring this impactful campaign to London and continue to take a stand for the important issues of gender diversity at the board and senior leadership level," SSGA's Lori Heinel said.

Ironically, SSGA became embroiled in its own gender pay row the same year it launched the Fearless Girl campaign.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Fearless Girl was first unveiled on Wall Street ahead of International Women's Day in 2017

London Stock Exchange said it was "delighted" to welcome the bronze to Paternoster Square.

CEO David Schwimmer said the group "fully supports her mission of raising awareness of the importance of diversity on boards and within senior corporate leadership".

Both the London and New York statues were produced to coincide with International Women's Day on 8 March.

Fans of the artwork took to Twitter to push for it to become a permanent part of the City.

While Hafi Rahman added: "About time!"

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The second bronze statue will be on show in Paternoster Square in London for three months

However, the statue has not been welcomed in all corners, with some sceptics claiming it is a marketing ploy.

Writing on Twitter, Ade Alabi said: "How the heck does a statue promote leadership. This is absolute madness!"

Harold Jarche said it was "a marketing stunt" while Duncan Stuart said it was "a piece of PR pandering".

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