There is wide agreement that the state of diversity in ADR is appalling and that there is no justification for this given the availability of highly qualified women and minority neutrals. Over at least the last eight years, there has been a concerted effort by ADR providers – the International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution (CPR) Diversity Task Force, the ABA Dispute Resolution Section and its Women In Dispute Resolution Committee, the New York State Bar Association’s Dispute Resolution Section, and scholars in ADR – to document the problem and suggest remedial measures.

The statistics are shocking and compare unfavourably with the days when women first entered the legal profession. The Brennan Center for Justice published a report on diversity in the judiciary in 2010, noting that white males were overrepresented on state appellate benches by a margin of nearly two to one. Almost every other demographic group is underrepresented when compared to their share of the nation’s population. Nevertheless, state and federal courts, which are still struggling to improve, have close to 30 percent women (although fewer minority) judges. In large commercial and international arbitrations, the highest recorded statistics for the participation of women have been in the neighbourhood of 6 percent; the participation of minorities is not even this significant (see Lucy Greenwood and C. Mark Baker, Getting a Better Balance on International Arbitration Tribunals, Arbitration International Vol. 4 (Kluwer 2012); also Barbara A. Mentz, Women in Law and Arbitration: Running in Place or Sliding Backward, New York Dispute Resolution Lawyer Vol.5 No.1 (NYSBA Spring 2012).

Jan-Mar 2015 issue

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