Karthi Veeramani, a 29-year-old human relations professional, came to Wall Street on a recent afternoon with a purpose to take a picture with the Fearless Girl, the bronze statue of a little girl that stands next to the famous Charging Bull and now could be considered the Financial District’s newest attraction. The small statue has become a symbol of gender equality to many who see it. Veerman, dressed in all black, hugged the statue and smiled.
“I think the statue is very empowering, especially on Wall Street,” said Veeramani. “A girl as the symbol of empowerment conveys a message, given the political environment of today, to tell girls that they can really do what they want, but it’s going to take a fight and we’re all here fighting with them. “
The statue was placed here on March 7 in an honor of International Women’s Day and it was supposed to be taken down on April 2. But this week, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that statue will stay on Wall Street at least until February 2018 . “Sometimes a symbol helps us become whole, and I think the Fearless Girl is having that same effect. She is inspiring everyone in a moment where we need inspiration,” said de Blasio on Monday.
“Women’s rights and equality have been an uphill battle and Wall Street’s Fearless Girl puts us one step closer, ” says financial advisor Lacy Phelps. “The statue erases prejudice and barriers and encourages women to stand in the face of fear and do what they love.”
[Video by Belen Smole]
Phelps said she was pleased with the mayor’s decision. “In a male dominated industry, Fearless Girl makes me feel empowered and inspired to reach my full potential. She inspires me to be fierce and make the future of my dreams. Fearless Girl levels the playing field and shows that woman in any industry have the power to succeed,“ she added.
Other passersby were just as happy about de Blasio’s decision. “It’s great that the statue will stay here for a year. There are usually many male bankers here in this very hectic area of New York. This statue represents the opposite – innocence combined with female power and courage,” says Fanny Stathoulopoulou, a 33-year-old project manager.
The little bronze girl has impressed men in the district too. Mike Chorey, a 29 year-old project manager, says he grew up with many women in his family, and for him the art piece represents how strong women are today. “No matter how small they are, they can stand up to anything,” he said.
Store manager Warana Egodate said he was surprised that the statue was not permanent and that people had to fight for it to stay. “It’s just a statue and it’s not just empowering women; it stands for gender equality in general as sometimes men are discriminated against as well,” he said.
Meanwhile, Nira Desai, a strategist from Washington, D.C. is gathering signatures on a petition to make Wall Street the statue’s permanent home. So far, the petition on Change.org has 30,149 signatures.