ArbitralWomen launch Dealing with Diversity in International Arbitration Guide

Editors Louise Barrington and Rashda Rana SC recently launched an ArbitralWomen/TDM Special Issue on Dealing with Diversity in International Arbitration.

Chambers Global Diversity Editor, Dee Sekar recently spoke to Rashda Rana about the reasons behind the project. “As President of ArbitralWomen, I was approached by Charlotte Waelde to see if ArbitralWomen would be interested in participating with TDM to produce a Special Issue on diversity in international arbitration. I was very keen to do so since not only is diversity an issue dear to my heart, it also marries up very neatly with the objectives of ArbitralWomen: the promotion of women in dispute resolution around the world. I then sought consent from the ArbitralWomen Board which I got readily and in the process I asked Louise Barrington to be my co-editor. In conjunction with TDM, I settled the title of the Special Issue. It was to cover all forms of diversity; gender, geographical, religious, ethnic. The response to the call for papers was overwhelming, including a diverse range of contributors and topics. I am very pleased with the result.”

Rashda Rana
Rashda Rana

Chambers Diversity has also recognised the importance of the role of women in arbitration. In 2014 and 2015, we organised two Women in Arbitration seminars in São Paulo, Brazil. We also have a special arbitration award at our upcoming Chambers Women in Law Awards: Latin America. Rashda is a strong proponent of addressing the role of women in arbitration.”Women remain wholly under-represented in the legal profession generally, despite university entry figures are at an all-time high at about 60-70% globally. That entry level is not reflected in senior practitioner, arbitral tribunal or judicial levels. One reason for the under-representation is the high attrition rate amongst female practitioners at the mid-point of their careers. There are many reasons for this attrition. Family is one, but increasingly the reason being cited by women is the lack of support and encouragement they receive from their domestic partners, male peers or male superiors.”

Rashda is proactively highlighting this specific problem in the field of arbitration however statistically, the high female attrition rate pervades all aspects of the legal profession. “Overlooking 50% of the talent pool is a complete waste of valuable resources. This is certainly true in international arbitration. There are many women involved in dispute resolution and in international arbitration in particular but only at junior levels. They are not being encouraged or promoted. They are being ignored usually in favour of men – regardless of merit. Dispute resolution is not the domain of men. They are not “better” at it than women. Women bring a diversity that is currently lacking in the field. Equality is well overdue. The effluxion of time alone cannot bring about the changes necessary for gender equality. There has to be a positive, proactive and constant push for action to bring about the change. There has to be a societal and psychological shift to viewing the advantages of gender equality. That is what is needed in international arbitration too.”

Louise Barrington
Co-editor Louise Barrington

The Special Issue launched on July 2 can be accessed online. Topics and the list of contributors can be found below.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *