ICC celebrates 5 years of progress since arbitration gender pledge

  • 19 May 2021

On 19 May 2016, ICC signed an Equal Representation in Arbitration Pledge, calling for enhanced diversity in international arbitration. Celebrating the anniversary of the signing five years on, ICC’s efforts to improve the representation of women in arbitration goes from strength to strength.

Here are three ways we’ve been turning our pledge into action.

  1. Achieving gender parity of the ICC Court

In 2018, ICC marked a milestone when the ICC Court achieved full gender parity for the first time in its almost 100-year history under the leadership of ICC Court President Alexis Mourre. A new composition of the Court will be announced in June and is expected to match or surpass the 2018 composition in its representation of women members.

  1. Reducing the gender gap on arbitral tribunals

As a result of global efforts to fix the gender gap in arbitral tribunals, the proportion of women arbitrators in ICC arbitrations – whether nominated by arbitral parties, co-arbitrators, or the ICC Court – has continually improved over the past five years.

ICC arbitration statistics for 2020 reveal that the number of confirmations and appointments of women arbitrators in ICC case continues to steadily rise – increasing from 312 in 2019 to 355 in 2020, representing today over 23% of all confirmations or appointments up from 21.1% in 2019.

In the five years since signing the equal representation pledge, ICC has seen the number of parties appointing women arbitrators rise from 11% to 16%, the number of women arbitral chairs nominated by co-arbitrators rise from 13% to 28% and ICC nominations and confirmation of women arbitrators (either upon proposal of an ICC national committee or group, or directly) rise from 23% to 37%.

While the number of women acting as co-arbitrators and sole arbitrator has remained steady at around 40% and 30% respectively, the percentage of women acting as tribunal president in 2020 cases has risen to 30%, a steady 5% increase over a three-year period.

  1. Recommending the first woman President of the ICC Court

Most recently ICC has been shortlisted for an award by arbitration publication Global Arbitration Review. The nomination has been made under the Equal Representation in Arbitration Pledge award category for putting Claudia Salomon on the path to becoming the first woman president of the ICC Court in its close to 100-year history. The historic move is subject to formal approval by the ICC World Council who will meet in June.