31 July 2020

Are really increasing the presence of women in Arbitration?

The International Council for Commercial Arbitration (ICCA) has published a report on the efforts made by arbitration organizations and institutions to increase the representation of women in the arbitration sector. The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) has participated in this report.

Specifically, the Cross-Institutional Task Force includes 18 prestigious international arbitration institutions, as well as law firms and initiatives promoting gender diversity. Through this report, statistics on the incorporation of women arbitrators are made, as well as identifying the best initiatives and practices that help to strengthen the presence of women in this sector.

ICC Court Secretary General Alexander G. Fessas said: "ICC recognises the importance and benefits of gender balance in arbitration and is pleased to have contributed to this prominent report. It is encouraging to see progress being made on this issue but there is clearly more work to be done. We are one of the first institutions to sign the Equal Representation in Arbitration Pledge, we have achieved full gender parity at the ICC Court since 2018 and appointed and confirmed a total of 312 women arbitrators in 2019".

According to statistics published by the ICC a few weeks ago, in 2019 the ICC was able to select between 25% and 30% of the arbitrators who participated in the arbitration proceedings. Of the arbitrators selected, 131 women were selected by the parties (42%), while 134 women were selected by the ICC courts (43%) and 45 women were selected by the presidents of the arbitral tribunal or by the arbitrators (14%).

According to data shown in recent reports, the number of women in arbitral proceedings has doubled over the past few years. In 2019, appointments by arbitral institutions accounted for 34%, while arbitrators appointed women in 21.5% of the proceedings, and only 13.9% of the parties appointed women as arbitrators.

 "From several sources, this pioneering report pulls together broad ranging information to provide a clear picture of gender balance in arbitration today, including data on the number of women arbitrators to the range of initiatives in place to promote women practitioners. Furthermore, the report also addresses issues of unconscious bias and the barriers women arbitrators can face in their careers. Most importantly, it provides practical tips on how to address gender diversity and overcome these biases", said ICC Special Counsel Mireze Philippe.

In addition to the ICC, the following actors are among those participating in the Cross-Institutional Task Force: 

ArbitralWomen; the American Bar Association (ABA); Burford Capital; the Equal Representation in Arbitration Pledge (ERA); Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP; the German Arbitration Institute (DIS); the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC); the International Bar Association (IBA); the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID); the International Council for Commercial Arbitration (ICCA); the International Centre for Dispute Resolution (ICDR); the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA); the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce (SCC); Three Crowns LLP; the University of Sydney; the Vienna International Arbitral Centre (VIAC); and White & Case LLP.

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