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
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