New York state Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou insists that the girl stay put.
That’s the message Niou penned to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio last week, asking that a statue called “Fearless Girl” be given a permanent spot in Lower Manhattan.
Since early March, “Fearless Girl” has stood in Bowling Green near Broadway, staring down the “Charging Bull” of Wall Street.
“Fearless Girl shows us that the might of a charging bull, and that which it symbolizes, can be easily matched with the determination and defiance of young women,” Niou’s letter reads.
State Street Global Advisors, an investment service company, installed the statue in honor of International Women’s Day, celebrated on March 8. The goal was to get people talking about the need to improve gender diversity in corporate leadership roles, according to the company’s website.
The installation, slated to end in early April, quickly gained a strong following. On any given day, visitors can be seen snapping photos with “Fearless Girl,” some posing with hands on hips like the bronze statue.
Just over 4 feet tall, “Fearless Girl” stands as a counterpoint to the 7,000-pound “Charging Bull,” installed following the 1987 stock market crash as a symbol of American strength and prosperity.
“We need to recognize the importance of encouraging women to be leaders in as many fields as possible,” Niou, whose assembly district includes Wall Street, told NBC News. “That’s why she’s so impactful.”
More than 50 elected officials — including members of the New York City Council, State Assembly, State Senate, and U.S. House of Representatives — signed on to Niou’s letter to de Blasio, dated March 15.
“The numbers of women in these legislatures have increased, but it is still not representative of the people we serve,” the letter reads. “That is why it is critical that we embrace symbols of female empowerment.”
Niou said their request to make “Fearless Girl” a permanent installation was under review by the city. On Friday, she and some lawmakers held a news conference next to the statue to call attention to their efforts.
Supporters have also spearheaded petition drives on Change.org. As of Tuesday, the most popular of them had collected more than 23,000 signatures.
Neither State Street Global Advisors nor the mayor’s office immediately responded to requests for comment from NBC News.
Still, not everyone is sold on “Fearless Girl.” Some have called the installation a marketing ploy executed by a huge investment company. Others object to its being placed across from Arturo Di Modica’s “Charging Bull.”
Niou, however, believes the statue has served to ignite a critical conversation.
“I think it’s important to debate gender equity, I think it’s important to talk about the issues, I think it’s important to encourage young women,” Niou said. “And I’m glad she’s there to encourage that discussion.”