INTEGRITES became the first law firm in the post-Soviet states to join the Equal Representation in Arbitration Pledge (ERA Pledge) initiative. Olena Perepelynska, Partner and Head of International Arbitration Practice at INTEGRITES, became a member of ERA Pledge Steering Committee.
In recognition of the under-representation of women on international arbitral tribunals, in 2015 members of the arbitration community drew up a pledge to take action. The Pledge seeks to increase, on an equal opportunity basis, the number of women appointed as arbitrators to achieve a fair representation, with the ultimate goal of full parity.
One of the key steps is to ensure adequate representation of and equal access for female arbitration practitioners to:
- committees, governing bodies and conference panels in the field of arbitration;
- lists of potential arbitrators or tribunal chairs provided to or considered by parties, counsel, in-house counsel;
- lists of potential arbitrators at arbitral institutions, states and national committees.
“Gender balance in arbitration draws growing attention of the legal community across the world. There are a number of reasons why women do not have equal representation in this field. First, arbitration has long been “pale, male and stale” or dominated by male practitioners. Secondly, the widespread bias has been pre-conditioning potential appointment of a female candidate as arbitrator with at least a partner position in a law firm. This reason relates to another – female legal practitioners are traditionally underrepresented not only in arbitration but in boards of partners in law firms as well”, Olena Perepelynska comments.
In her opinion, further evolution of arbitration globally depends on the promotion of diversity agenda in arbitral tribunals and institutions, governing bodies in expert communities.
“ERA Pledge is a significant collective move that provides experts in arbitration an instrument to stick together and push gender equality discussion forward. I am pleased that INTEGRITES has become the first law firm in the post-Soviet region to step in and support the initiative. I believe that our team’s commitment to ERA pledge will motivate other law firms in Ukraine and neighboring countries to join it”, says Perepelynska.
Equal Representation in Arbitration Pledge is an initiative aimed at increasing the number of women in international arbitration. It has already been supported by more than 3,000 law firms, lawyers, arbitration institutions from Europe, the USA, Asia, Africa, Australia, and New Zealand.
Olena Perepelynska is the President of the Ukrainian Arbitration Association and lawyer with over 16 years of experience in international commercial arbitration. Since 2003, she has represented clients as an arbitrator and counsel in more than 115 arbitrations under the Arbitration Rules of the ICC, LCIA, SCC, SCAI, ICAC at CCIRF, ICAC, and MAC at UCCI, IAC at the BelCCI, GAFTA, FOSFA, LMAA, UNCITRAL, and others. Olena’s professional achievements are recognized by leading international rankings such as WWL: Arbitration, Chambers Global, Chambers Europe, Legal500, etc.