Featured Image for Ah, the irony! Bank behind Wall Street’s “Fearless Girl” statue settles gender pay dispute

Ah, the irony! Bank behind Wall Street’s “Fearless Girl” statue settles gender pay dispute

State Street Corp pays women and black employees significantly less than their white male counterparts, according to an audit by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP).

State Street Corp., parent company of the investment firm behind Wall Street’s “Fearless Girl” statue, just agreed to pay a combined $5 million in compensations, although they deny the findings of the 2012 audit.

The $5 million settlement was finalised early October and includes approximately $4.5 million in back payments and other $500,000 in interest.

The company said in a statement, “State Street is committed to equal pay practices and evaluates on an ongoing basis our internal processes to be sure our compensation, hiring and promotions programs are nondiscriminatory.

“While we disagreed with the OFCCP’s analysis and findings, we have cooperated fully with them, and made a decision to bring this six-year-old matter to resolution and move forward.”

Installed in March of this year, “Fearless Girl” is a bronze sculpture created by Uruguayan born artist Kristen Visbal.

The piece was commissioned by State Street Global Advisors to advertise for an index fund which comprises gender-diverse businesses that have a higher percentage of women among their senior executive and directorial roles.

The statue’s plaque reads, “Know the power of women in leadership. SHE makes a difference.”

The sculpture is the centre of an advertising campaign by McCann New York, which has already won 18 honours at the prestigious Cannes Lions festival, including four Grand Prix top honours.

In a symbolic gesture of defiance, it was placed in front of Arturo DiModica’s famous work “Charging Bull”.

Curiously, in a recent Advertising Week panel, State Street Global Advisors CMO Stephen Tisdalle seemed to foresee the possible contradiction and backlash the Fearless Girl campaign might entail.

“Do we as an organization reflect the penultimate makeup and reflection in being a diverse organization?” Tisdalle said.

“No. And that was a risk because a lot of the people felt the message might be diluted by a lot of cynical people saying, ‘Well who are you to talk about gender diversity when you’re not a perfect embodiment of it?’”

Arthur Piccolo – chairman of architectural conservation group Bowling Green Association and co-founder of the Lower Manhattan Historical Society – said to Artnet News in an email, “The Fearless Girl project was always a SCAM allowing a TRILLION dollar financial firm to get many MILLIONS of dollars of FREE publicity on PUBLIC land.”

Just to add one more scoop of irony to all this, the announcement of the settlement comes on the eve of the season premiere of the CW’s show Supergirl, which will feature a tribute to the statue.

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