“There is still important work to be done.”
One year ago, a small statue of a girl made a big statement when it was installed in front of the iconic Wall Street charging bull statue.
Now, 365 days after the statue was first installed, the firm behind the statue, called “Fearless Girl,” says it has worked with more than 150 publicly-traded companies to ensure women are represented on previously all-male boards, the Washington Post reports.
“Our stewardship platform, exemplified by Fearless Girl, is making a significant impact,” Rakhi Kumar, head of ESG Investments and Asset Stewardship for State Street Global Advisors, said in a statement. “Fearless Girl has sparked important conversations around the world, and has increased shareholder action on the issue of gender diversity.”
“We are proud of the fact that 152 companies have placed women on their boards in just the last year. However, there is still important work to be done,” he added.
According to a press release, State Street called on more than 750 companies in the US, UK, and Australia to add women to all-male boards. Along with the 152 that did so, another 34 said they would include women “in the near term,” and 511 did not do anything.
The press release notes that the investment firm appealed to companies through direct engagement, including a letter-writing campaign and voting down the chair of nominating committees at companies with no women in the board.
In October of last year, State Street came under fire for underpaying female employees — and agreed to a $5 million settlement to pay off gender-based salary differences to 305 women who made less than their male counterparts for doing the same work.
The firm says it will continue to work to ensure women achieve better representation in finance — and not just at the highest levels of companies.
“Often when we engage with companies on the issue of board diversity we hear that the biggest challenge is a lack of suitable female candidates,” Kumar said. “Our efforts can’t stop at the board level if we truly want companies to adopt policies and practices that will help strengthen gender diversity throughout their organizations, and ultimately contribute to a greater pool of female directors qualified to serve on a board.”