Rep. Maloney and Women Leaders Call for Fearless Girl Statue to Become Permanent, More Women on Corporate Boards

Mar 18, 2017
Press Release

NEW YORK—Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney was joined by women leaders from across the city to call on New York City to permit the statue to remain permanently in place on Wall Street. Maloney also announced the reintroduction of her Gender Diversity in Corporate Leadership Act to help get more women on corporate boards.

“To get a fair shot in business, women have to stand fearless in front of the real life charging bull of gender discrimination, and go above and beyond their male counterparts to be viewed as equal,” said Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney. “Fearless Girl is each of us; she embodies the resiliency that each woman must possess, and I believe it is essential that she remain in her spot permanently. She was installed to draw attention to the lack of female representation on corporate boards, an issue I have been fighting for in Congress for many years.  That is why I have reintroduced, my Gender Diversity in Corporate Leadership Act, which is a step towards achieving gender parity on boards. We must add pressure to get more women on corporate boards, and this statue does that in a bold and creative way.”

The Fearless Girl statue, created by artist Kristen Visbal, was unveiled to the public on International Women’s Day, March 8, 2017, by a Wall Street firm that is calling on its clients to increase the number of women on their corporate boards. Rep. Maloney has written letters both to Mayor de Blasio and the NYC Department of Transportation urging them to make the statue a permanent installation (see attached). According to a January 2016  Government Accountability Office report that was written at Maloney’s direction, women are severely underrepresented on corporate boards, representing just 16 percent of seats in the boardroom. The study also found that even if the rate of women joining corporate boards were doubled, and were hired at the same rate as men, it would still take at least 40 years (2056) for women to reach parity with men. 

In response, Rep. Maloney introduced the Gender Diversity in Corporate Leadership Act (H.R. 1611), reintroduced on March 17, 2017. This new legislation, modeled on policies in Canada and Australia, would instruct the SEC to recommend strategies for increasing women’s representation on corporate boards. The bill also requires companies to report their policies to encourage the nomination of women for board seats as well as the proportion of women on their board and in senior executive leadership.

Rep. Maloney was joined at the press conference by Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer, Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou, Council Member Margaret S. Chin, Vice President of Government Affairs for Serena Fong, and Organizer of the NYC Women’s March Katherine Siemionko.

“The Fearless Girl conveys so many different important messages, but one is the resolve that’s needed to confront, overcome, and eliminate inequality,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “She should continue to stand there, staring down that bull, reminding and inspiring all of us to insist on progress and do more to achieve it. I thank Congresswomen Maloney for her leadership on equality for women in the boardroom.”

“Fearless Girl resonates with so many women because she encourages us all to reflect on challenges we still face," said Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou. “It is critical that as a City we embrace messages that encourage discussions around gender diversity, and the need for more women in leadership roles. The scarcity of women in legislatures shows us that much work remains to achieve gender equality in places of leadership. I am thrilled that more than 50 female elected officials have joined my call to make Fearless Girl a permanent exhibit, and I look forward to working with the community and my colleagues in government to ensure Fearless Girl is a permanent fixture in Lower Manhattan."

"The Fearless Girl sends an important message of hope to generations of girls who will grow up with confidence knowing that they too can succeed and thrive in male-dominated sectors and careers," said Council Member Margaret S. Chin. "Over the past week, my constituents have reached out to me by phone and email to show their support to make the statue permanent, and to tell me how important The Fearless Girl is to them. I am proud to join Congresswoman Maloney and other fearless woman to show our daughters that glass ceilings are meant to be shattered, and that they too have a seat at the table."

“Gender parity on boards and in leadership is desirable not only for the sake of fairness and equity,” said Serena Fong. “It would also enhance our country’s ability to compete and flourish in a global economy. How effectively businesses can leverage diverse talent is critical to the United State’s long-term competitiveness. Governments and business leaders around the world now recognize that they must draw from all talent in order to succeed. In other words, diversity is undeniably seen as a competitive advantage. Fearless Girl represents the strength having more women on boards gives to companies AND our communities. We hope this statement encourages other organizations to take bold action as well. Let’s make Fearless Girl and this commitment permanent.”

“The Fearless Girl is speaking,” said Katherine Siemionko. “She's saying - I am not going anywhere. My voice will be heard. My pay will be equal. My body will be respected. I will not be bullied or silenced. I will not be passed over. I will persevere because I am equal. This statue represents the future of women in this country. She is my niece: Emma, Abby, Ali, or Mila. She's your daughter; your granddaughter. She is the American girl who's saying to all women today, "I am what you are fighting for. Because of you a day will come when this girl takes on the boys and succeeds". New York City cannot afford to remove this reminder. She is the child of liberty. If she can make it here, she can make it anywhere.”   

"Fearless Girl stands as a powerful beacon, showing women -- young and old -- that no dream is too big and no ceiling is too high," said Public Advocate Letitia James.​ "This powerful symbol must become a permanent fixture of New York City's landscape. But our symbols will be reduced to mere tokens without true action, which is why Congress must pass Congresswoman Maloney's Gender Diversity in Corporate Leadership Act to ensure that women have every opportunity to be corporate leaders."