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Diversity in dispute resolution leads to better outcomes

The report by the Cross-Institutional Task Force on Gender Diversity in Arbitral Appointments and Proceedings provides recent statistics on the appointment of female arbitrators, and identifies opportunities and best practices to promote gender diversity in international arbitration.

The report stops short of addressing the impact of female expert witnesses on the process. However a number of the task force, and other senior lawyers in the field, have already shown their support by appointing female experts and ensuring that the many highly experienced and competent women, who often play a critical supporting role for the men who take the stand, also get their chance to contribute front of stage instead of waiting in the wings. This can only further enhance the legitimacy of arbitration, its procedures and its outcomes.

The greatest opportunity for such improvement lies with parties and the counsel that represent them, the report concludes – noting that while 34% of institutional appointments and 21.5% of co-arbitrator appointments were female in 2019, only 13.9% of party appointments were female. Having identified a clear disparity, the report argues there is both a social and moral obligation to address gender discrimination as part of the dispute resolution field’s broader commitment to sustainable development. Studies have also shown that gender diversity in arbitral tribunals enhances the legitimacy of arbitration, as well as improving its procedures and outcomes.


arbitration, dispute resolution, diversity, diversity and inclusion