Fearless Girl statue should be replicated in India

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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/File Photo

NEW YORK – Fearless Girl, a popular bronze sculpture by Kristen Visbal – depicting a proud, brave-looking girl in a ponytail facing the iconic Charging Bull statue – positioned in the Financial District of New York City, will move a few blocks away later this year, to outside the New York Stock Exchange building.

When it was installed in Spring of 2017, the 50 inches tall, and 250 pounds sculpture was meant to be a short-term attraction. State Street Global Advisors, the financial firm that installed the statue, were advertising an index fund which comprises gender-diverse companies that have a relatively high percentage of women among their senior leadership, according to Wikipedia.

The plaque below the statue states: ‘Know the power of women in leadership. SHE makes a difference.’ The ‘SHE’ being the fund’s NASDAQ ticker symbol, too.

Visitors love the statue. Its juxtaposition to the Wall Street Bull is fascinating. The aura of power, self-belief of a child seem to ooze out of the tiny figure; a miniature version of a real life ‘Wonder Woman’.

Fearless Girl has had real social impact too, in the corporate world.

Penny Green, CEO of The Yield Growth Corp., co-founder of Glance Technologies, and a Securities lawyer, writing in Forbes, noted: “…it’s been a little over a year since the “Fearless Girl” statue was added to Wall Street. Her campaign pushed more than 150 companies to add women to what were previously all-male boards, but there is still a long way to go to reach equality. Less than one in five of the nearly 800 all-male boards in that campaign have since added at least one woman.”

Since its installation, there has been a clamor to keep it permanently in New York City. Supporters include US Representative Carolyn Maloney of New York’s 12th congressional district, who said, “This statue has touched hearts across the world with its symbolism of the resiliency of women.” New York City’s Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted that “Men who don’t like women taking up space are exactly why we need the Fearless Girl.”

Visbal, the sculptor, is now thrilled that her creation will continue to get space in the city. She told CNNMoney the statue’s message has extended beyond finance. She hopes that by remaining in the public eye, Fearless Girl will “continue to inspire the global community regarding gender collaboration in every aspect of life.”

A duplicate of the Fearless Girl sculpture was unveiled outside the Grand Hotel in Oslo, Norway, on March 8, 2018. It faces the Norwegian parliament Stortinget.

It’s important that the Fearless Girl statue is replicated in India too; and not just for the message for equality and parity for women in the corporate world.

The need of the hour is install one Fearless Girl in each state of the country, and many more in areas where rampant, sickening crimes against innocent and defenseless females continue unabated.

The Economic Times reported, on the basis of a Pan India survey, that despite substantial rise in the number of women joining workforce in India, gender parity continues to suffer, especially at senior positions, as 16 percent of organizations have no women on board level. Also, 47 percent organizations reported that there are no more than 5 percent women in senior management roles.

First Post reported, based on a survey by the Monster Salary Index, that there was a 20 percent gender pay gap in corporate India in 2017, with men raking in a median gross hourly salary of Rs. 231 in comparison to women who earned Rs 184.80.

Fearless Girl. Photo: REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton.

However, the Fearless Girl is truly needed in India to spread the message to stop crimes against girls and women, too. Part of the problem is a widening chasm in India’s gender disparity.

The Washington Post reported that India has an excess of 37 million males, in comparison to females. In the Indian state of Haryana, the crimes against women have increased 127% in the past 10 years. Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra lead in high rates of crimes against women and girls.

It’s not just one Nirbhaya anymore, which shocked and paralyzed the nation. Then galvanized them into action. It seems there’s an incident of Nirbhaya almost daily in India nowadays.

It has to stop.

Perhaps, a Fearless Girl statue in every corner of India is a solution to end atrocities against women. To remind people forever of the beauty, bravery and fearlessness of an eight-year-old child in Kashmir who loved to be out in the open, enjoyed nature, and animals in the countryside who were her friends. Till some beasts in the form of men snatched it all away from her, forever.

India should immortalize the Kathua victim through a ‘Fearless Girl’ statue.

(Sujeet Rajan is Executive Editor, Parikh Worldwide Media. Email him: sujeet@newsindiatimes.com  Follow him on Twitter @SujeetRajan1)