Gender Diversity in Arbitration
Since the beginning of Feminism, discussions over gender equality and women's participation have increased, and they've come to be linked to almost every other socio-cultural aspect. Every society is proud of the critical contribution played by women in prominent positions and achievements. Even though international conventions and guidelines based on women's empowerment have been ratified, no one can dispute that gender discrimination exists worldwide.
The Report on Gender Diversity in Arbitral Appointments and Proceedings was released by the Cross-Institutional Task Force on Gender Diversity in Arbitral Appointments and Proceedings. The ninth book in the Reports Series of the International Council for Commercial Arbitration (ICCA).
According to the report, gender diversity in arbitral tribunals is rising. It has more than doubled in the last four years, mainly due to arbitral institutions' efforts to increase female arbitrators. However, in 2019, women still account for slightly more than 21% of all arbitration appointments. There is indeed an opportunity to get better.
Gender and age and region, culture, and ethnicity are all factors that contribute to diversity in international arbitration. In one of the seminars at London International Disputes Week, a new word, "RAGE," was coined to confront the diversity issue in international arbitration, emphasising the importance of all variables that contribute to the proper adjudication of a dispute.
There are various reasons for the lack of possibilities, including using the same arbitrators repeatedly, which creates hurdles for newcomers. There may be a lack of exposure around possible female arbitrators since more males arbitrators are picked by the parties because they want an experienced arbiter, rejecting equally qualified female applicants. The sole component of gender disparity in international arbitration is evident prejudice and inherent bias.
On the 18th of May, 2016, in London, the Equal Representation in Arbitration Pledge was launched, marking a watershed event in international arbitration. The pledge's rationale is to increase female arbitrators in the global arbitration system on an equal footing.
After the pledge, some actions were implemented to create equal opportunity, such as the publication of gender statistics for appointments of women arbitrators, and even the idea of quota was discussed. Still, it would only improve the statistics rather than the credo of equal opportunity, so it was not chosen.
Arbitration is a process in which the parties choose their arbitrators; as a result, brilliant applicants are often overlooked, and arbitral institutions are not obliged to encourage gender diversity. When gender disparity is eliminated, the quality of the arbitration community improves, and new approaches to the area are introduced. In arbitral tribunals, gender diversity is growing, having doubled in the last four years. However, there is still an opportunity for growth.
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