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15

Since its launch in 2016, the Equal Representation in Arbitration Pledge has evolved

rapidly from a proposal to tackle the historic under-representation of women in

international arbitration to an award-winning global campaign that has put the

issue of gender diversity firmly on the agenda.

Once a subject debated at the fringes, the Pledge

has made a significant contribution to the movement

of gender diversity into mainstream dialogue in

2017, thereby challenging long-held attitudes.

In recognition of its contribution, the Pledge was

awarded 'Best Development' in international

arbitration at the 7th Annual Global Arbitration

Review Awards in 2017.

Conceived as a call to action aimed particularly

at addressing the paucity of women sitting as

arbitrators, the Pledge has two objectives. First, it

aims to improve the profile and representation of

women in international arbitration. Second, it seeks

the appointment of women as arbitrators on an

equal opportunity basis. Signatories to the Pledge

(including counsel, arbitrators, judges, academics,

representatives of corporates, states and institutions)

commit to taking steps in furtherance of these aims.

In so doing, signatories recognise that, while there

are numerous well-qualified female arbitrator

candidates, they often lack visibility vis-à-vis their

male peers, who are repeatedly selected from

the same, relatively small pool of well-known

candidates. Having arbitrators drawn from a small,

non-diverse pool not only raises questions of

unconscious bias, quality of decision-making and

perceptions of a lack of legitimacy, but also risks

resulting in procedural inefficiencies, such as a lack

of availability of arbitrators and delays in awards.

The Pledge seeks to address these issues by

broadening the pool of arbitrators with equally

qualified women and paving the way for greater

diversity more broadly in international arbitration.

As of January 2018, the Pledge enjoys the support

of over 2,500 signatories, comprising approximately

2,000 individuals and 500 organisations, drawn from

over 100 countries across the globe. Organisation

signatories include major arbitral institutions, such

as the CIAC, CRCICA, DIFC-LCIA, DIS, HKIAC, ICC,

ICDR, LCIA, SCC and SIAC, and major corporations,

including BP, ConocoPhillips, GE, Repsol and Shell.

Gender diversity in

international arbitration

Sylvia Noury

Partner

T +44 20 7785 5467

E sylvia.noury@freshfields.com

Natalie Sheehan

Senior Associate

T +44 20 7785 5799

E natalie.sheehan@freshfields.com

6

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