I first began analyzing the available data from arbitral institutions in 2010 when I concluded that around 6% of appointments to tribunals were appointments of women. There has been a significant change in a relatively short period of time. I have published a number of major papers on this topic, see Getting a Better Balance and Is The Balance Getting Better? Tipping the Balance will be published by Arbitration International shortly.
I recently analyzed the data for 2016 from 16 international arbitration institutions, and the current figure in relation to appointments of women is closer to 16%.
It is important to put the numbers into context. Some of the smaller arbitration institutions may only appoint in the region of 40 arbitrators each year. I preferto focus on two major players in terms of the number of international arbitrator appointments, the ICC, and the ICDR, who made 1411 and 1158 total appointments respectively in 2016. Certainly for the ICC, there has been a significant increase in appointments of women, from 10% in 2015 to almost 15% in 2016. The ICDR has remained steady, making female appointments 16% of the time in both 2015 and 2016.
Taking five institutions who provided information to me in both 2015 and 2016 and who appoint a significant number of arbitrators, the data shows an increase in the number of women appointed.
Some institutions were able to provide detailed information in relation to how the appointments are made. This information shows that women are much more likely to be appointed by institutions than by co-arbitrators or the parties.
Although the historic trend is not very reliable, due to the significant difficulties I encountered in obtaining any statistics from the institutions prior to 2014, this graph is the best extrapolation from the data that I have collated going back to 1990.