Despite the long strides and uncountable achievements of women practitioners in the world of ADR, it still remains a male-dominated world.
Gender bias is one of the primary reasons for this disparity between the male and female practitioners. There seems to be a perception that women lack effective understanding of contracts and this prevents parties from seeking them as Arbitrators. In commercial mediation, there is another perception that women are emotional and they tend to approach the disputes emotionally, rather than rationally.
One could easily notice a startling gap in the number of renowned women ADR practitioners, in comparison to their male counterparts. This is largely due to ‘leaky pipeline’. Leaky pipeline refers to the barriers that women encounter in their careers that compel many to leave after just the first few years of practice. There are several reasons for this, such as lack of flexible work options, work culture and again, the long held stereotype that women would prioritize their family life over professional career.
There were some major researches done analyzing the role and contribution of Women in Arbitration, which noted that only 6.5% of all commercial arbitrator appointments (both party appointed and institutional appointed) are women.
Though a lot of differences have happened in the last 5 years and many prominent Women ADR professionals have taken leadership and key positions in many global organizations, still there is a long way to go.
World ADR Women (WAW) is a professional leadership approach spear-headed by women from various global jurisdictions to facilitate and expedite this process of upgrading and empowering growth of women representation in ADR and to ensure that new Women ADR professionals are guided and supported in making their mark in the global ADR field. WAW seeks to provide both young and experienced women, pursuing the career in ADR, with a platform to share their experience, achievements and concerns with each other and conversely learn from others.
It is APCAM’s vision through WAW to create equal representation for women in the field of global ADR, by the year 2030, across all levels – students, academicians, young practitioners and senior practitioners. The aim is to see the women across the world acing the arena of ADR in all capacities including arbitrator, mediator, expert, adjudicator, facilitator, lawyer, neutral or ombudswoman.
APCAM is paving its way to advance women involvement internationally in the field of ADR, above the gender disparity. WAW targets to evolve as an international platform for all women ADR practitioners from all over the globe providing opportunity for the professionals and users to interact and understand their respective needs, so as to promote the quality of dispute resolution process.
The ultimate objective of ADR mechanisms is to restore harmony in the lives of individuals and the community and WAW believes that women are better equipped to understand and consequently resolve conflict for they make interest-based choices as opposed to position-based. By promoting and training this innate capability, we aim to empower women to turn this skill into a professional career, which can be brought to use in various settings like schools, prisons, national and international institutions and ultimately in making the world a better place to live.
WAW envisions achieving its mission through various activities, such as: