On International Women's Day eve, statue of girl stares down Wall Street bull

NEW YORK, March 7 (Reuters) - As many American women prepare to draw attention to their role in the workplace, a Wall Street firm on Tuesday put up a statue of a girl in front of Lower Manhattan's well-known bronze charging bull, as if to fearlessly stare it down.

Placing the diminutive, grade school-aged girl in front of the massive bull on the eve of International Women's Day was a way of calling attention to the lack of gender diversity on corporate boards and the pay gap of women working in financial services, a spokeswoman for State Street Global Advisors said.

SEE ALSO: The Statue of Liberty had an outage on the eve of International Women's Day

"A lot of people talk about gender diversity, but we really felt we had to take it to a broader level," said Anne McNally, whose firm is an investment management subsidiary of State Street Corp.

In conjunction with International Women's Day on Wednesday, many American women are planning to stay home from work, which has led some schools to cancel classes.

Organizers asked women who cannot afford to miss a day of work to limit their shopping to female-owned businesses or to wear red.

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Fearless girl stares down Wall Street bull
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Fearless girl stares down Wall Street bull
NEW YORK, USA - MARCH 29: The 'Fearless Girl' statue, a four-foot statue of a young girl, defiantly looks up the iconic Wall Street 'Charging Bull' sculpture in New York City, United States on March 29, 2017. 'Fearless Girl' statue was installed in front of the bronze 'Charging Bull' for International Women's Day earlier this month to draw attention to the gender pay gap and lack of gender diversity on corporate boards in the financial sector. The statue will remain at her post until February 2018. (Photo by Volkan Furuncu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
MANHATTAN, NEW YORK CITY, NY, UNITED STATES - 2017/03/09: A bronze statue entitled 'Fearless Girl' by sculptor Kristen Visbal was officially unveiled in Lower Manhattan, placed opposite the iconic Wall Street Bull to symbolize the need for more women managers in Wall Street's financial markets. Originally planned to remain in place for one week, sponsors have requested that it remain longer, given the number of visitors it has drawn. (Photo by Andy Katz/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
A statue of a girl facing the Wall St. Bull, as part of a campaign by U.S. fund manager State Street to push companies to put women on their boards, is seen in the financial district in New York, U.S., March 7, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
LOWER MANHATTAN, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES - 2017/03/27: Mayor De Blasio looks at the 'Fearless Girl' sculpture. NYC Mayor De Blasio held a photo-op and a press conference to announce that the 'Fearless Girl' sculpture installed on International Women's Day 2017 at the triangular intersection of Broadway and Whitehall Street in New York will remain in place through International Women's Day in 2018. (Photo by Albin Lohr-Jones/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 9: Detail of 'The Fearless Girl' statue as it stands across from the Wall Street's famous Charging Bull to draw attention to the gender equality and lack of female managers on March 09, 2017 in New York City, US. Third largest asset manager worldwide State Street Global Advisors installed the statue on March 08, 2017. (Photo by William Volcov/Brazil Photo Press/LatinContent/Getty Images)
The 'Fearless Girl' (front) statue stands facing the 'Charging Bull' as tourists take pictures in New York on April 12, 2017. A battle is heating up between two iconic New York statues, the legendary 'Charging Bull' and new kid on the block 'Fearless Girl,' with gender equality, artistic integrity and copyright issues at stake. The Italian-American artist who created 'Charging Bull,' which has stood south of Wall Street for nearly 30 years, alleged Wednesday that 'Fearless Girl' breached his copyright, distorted his artistic message and should be moved elsewhere. The work of US artist Kristen Visbal, the bronze 'Fearless Girl' was installed last month, standing defiant, hands on hips and chin jutting out, directly challenging the bull. / AFP PHOTO / Jewel SAMAD (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
People look at a statue of a girl facing the Wall St. Bull, as part of a campaign by U.S. fund manager State Street to push companies to put women on their boards, in the financial district in New York, U.S., March 7, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
A statue of a girl facing the Wall St. Bull is seen, as part of a campaign by U.S. fund manager State Street to push companies to put women on their boards, in the financial district in New York, U.S., March 7, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
People take pictures with the Fearless Girl statue standing in the snow March 14, 2017 in New York. Winter Storm Stella unleashed its fury on much of the northeastern United States on March 14 dropping snow and sleet across the region and leading to school closures and thousands of flight cancellations. Stella, the most powerful winter storm of the season, was forecast to dump up to two feet (60 centimeters) of snow in New York and whip the area with combined with winds of up to 60 miles per hour (95 kilometers per hour), causing treacherous whiteout conditions. But after daybreak the National Weather Service (NWS) revised down its predicted snow accumulation for the city of New York, saying that the storm had moved across the coast. / AFP PHOTO / DON EMMERT (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
A camera man films a statue of a girl facing the Wall St. Bull, as part of a campaign by U.S. fund manager State Street to push companies to put women on their boards, in the financial district in New York, U.S., March 7, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
A statue of a girl facing the Wall St. Bull is seen, as part of a campaign by U.S. fund manager State Street to push companies to put women on their boards, in the financial district in New York, U.S., March 7, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
People look at a statue of a girl facing the Wall St. Bull, as part of a campaign by U.S. fund manager State Street to push companies to put women on their boards, in the financial district in New York, U.S., March 7, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
The 'Fearless Girl' statue stands facing the 'Charging Bull' as people take pictures in New York on April 12, 2017. A battle is heating up between two iconic New York statues, the legendary 'Charging Bull' and new kid on the block 'Fearless Girl,' with gender equality, artistic integrity and copyright issues at stake. The Italian-American artist who created 'Charging Bull,' which has stood south of Wall Street for nearly 30 years, alleged Wednesday that 'Fearless Girl' breached his copyright, distorted his artistic message and should be moved elsewhere. The work of US artist Kristen Visbal, the bronze 'Fearless Girl' was installed last month, standing defiant, hands on hips and chin jutting out, directly challenging the bull. / AFP PHOTO / Jewel SAMAD (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
The 'Fearless Girl' (front) statue stands facing the 'Charging Bull' as tourists take pictures in New York on April 12, 2017. A battle is heating up between two iconic New York statues, the legendary 'Charging Bull' and new kid on the block 'Fearless Girl,' with gender equality, artistic integrity and copyright issues at stake. The Italian-American artist who created 'Charging Bull,' which has stood south of Wall Street for nearly 30 years, alleged Wednesday that 'Fearless Girl' breached his copyright, distorted his artistic message and should be moved elsewhere. The work of US artist Kristen Visbal, the bronze 'Fearless Girl' was installed last month, standing defiant, hands on hips and chin jutting out, directly challenging the bull. / AFP PHOTO / Jewel SAMAD (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
The 'Fearless Girl' statue stands facing the 'Charging Bull' as tourists take pictures in New York on April 12, 2017. A battle is heating up between two iconic New York statues, the legendary 'Charging Bull' and new kid on the block 'Fearless Girl,' with gender equality, artistic integrity and copyright issues at stake. The Italian-American artist who created 'Charging Bull,' which has stood south of Wall Street for nearly 30 years, alleged Wednesday that 'Fearless Girl' breached his copyright, distorted his artistic message and should be moved elsewhere. The work of US artist Kristen Visbal, the bronze 'Fearless Girl' was installed last month, standing defiant, hands on hips and chin jutting out, directly challenging the bull. / AFP PHOTO / Jewel SAMAD (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
The 'Fearless Girl' (front) statue stands facing the 'Charging Bull' as tourists take pictures in New York on April 12, 2017. A battle is heating up between two iconic New York statues, the legendary 'Charging Bull' and new kid on the block 'Fearless Girl,' with gender equality, artistic integrity and copyright issues at stake. The Italian-American artist who created 'Charging Bull,' which has stood south of Wall Street for nearly 30 years, alleged Wednesday that 'Fearless Girl' breached his copyright, distorted his artistic message and should be moved elsewhere. The work of US artist Kristen Visbal, the bronze 'Fearless Girl' was installed last month, standing defiant, hands on hips and chin jutting out, directly challenging the bull. / AFP PHOTO / Jewel SAMAD (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, USA - MARCH 29: The 'Fearless Girl' statue, a four-foot statue of a young girl, defiantly looks up the iconic Wall Street 'Charging Bull' sculpture in New York City, United States on March 29, 2017. 'Fearless Girl' statue was installed in front of the bronze 'Charging Bull' for International Women's Day earlier this month to draw attention to the gender pay gap and lack of gender diversity on corporate boards in the financial sector. The statue will remain at her post until February 2018. (Photo by Volkan Furuncu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
LOWER MANHATTAN, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES - 2017/03/27: Mayor De Blasio poses with the 'Fearless Girl' sculpture. NYC Mayor De Blasio held a photo-op and a press conference to announce that the 'Fearless Girl' sculpture installed on International Women's Day 2017 at the triangular intersection of Broadway and Whitehall Street in New York will remain in place through International Women's Day in 2018. (Photo by Albin Lohr-Jones/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 14: Snow accumulates on 'The Fearless Girl' statue during a blizzard on March 14, 2017 in New York City. A blizzard is forecast to bring more than a foot of snow and high winds to up to eight states in the Northeast region as New York and New Jersey are under a state of emergency. School districts across the entire region were closed and thousands of flights were canceled. (Photo by William Volcov/Brazil Photo Press/LatinContent/Getty Images)
Kenny Simmers, 4, from New Jersey, poses for a picture next to 'The Fearless Girl' statue as it faces the iconic Wall Street charging bull statue as part of a campaign to push companies to add women on their boards, on March 8, 2017, in Lower Manhattan, New York. / AFP PHOTO / EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ (Photo credit should read EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 8: A group of children pose for a photo with 'The Fearless Girl' statue across from the iconic Wall Street charging bull statue, March 8, 2017 in New York City. State Street Global Advisors, the world's third-largest asset manager, installed the statue on Tuesday morning as part of a campaign to pressure companies to add more women to their boards. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
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Although women have made some headway against the glass ceiling, State Street said one out of four of the companies that make up the Russell 3000 Index still have no female representation on their boards.

"Today, we are calling on companies to take concrete steps to increase gender diversity on their boards, and have issued clear guidance to help them begin to take action," State Street Global Advisors CEO Ron O'Hanley said in a statement.

Much the same as the charging bull, the little bronze girl by artist Kristen Visbal was put up in the wee hours of the morning as "guerilla art," McNally said. But, unlike the bull, the firm discussed it with the city beforehand so that it could remain at least temporarily.

"We're actively pursuing that it stays for a month," she said. "If the city decides that it should stay in perpetuity, we're absolutely on board with that."

The bull, sculpted by Italian-born artist Arturo Di Modica, was initially taken down after he quietly placed it in front of the New York Stock Exchange in December 1989. But it was later given a permanent home, about a five-minute walk away on Broadway, in response to public support. (Reporting by Peter Szekely; Editing by Daniel Trotta and Cynthia Osterman)

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