The day this blog went live, on 1 December 2016, it had six posts on it. It was only afterwards that we realised that every one of those posts had been written by a woman. We didn’t plan it that way; we just asked interesting people to write on interesting subjects (and wrote ourselves). Perhaps this is a sign of changing times – so many talented women are now forging careers in international dispute settlement, helping to shape debates about the future of the law, and to shape the law itself, as counsel, arbitrators and scholars.
There is a long way to go, of course, and recent years have seen important initiatives, such as The Pledge, The Alliance, and Arbitral Women, pushing gender equality up the agenda. But we only got to where we are now because of the pioneering women who faced formidable challenges in making paths for themselves, and who now offer their support and comradeship to those coming after them. We salute you.
We also salute the men who use their positions of influence to champion equality, who recognise and support talent regardless of gender (or ethnicity, sexuality, or any other protected characteristic). And just as important are the men who, in their personal lives, don’t expect women to do all the housework after a long day writing an arbitral award or planning their cross-examination on the finer points of DCF analysis. In the words of a wise recent blog post,
“Being a lawyer, whichever branch you chose, is such a big, important, all consuming job that to have a partner that does not fully support you in your career, thinks that their career is more important than yours or that you should sacrifice your career prospects as the woman when family comes along is going to make it all the more difficult.”
Of course, advocating for equality in our own field of work does not mean that we forget the daily struggles faced by many women and girls throughout the world, or the incredible work which is being done to tackle those issues.
Happy International Women’s Day to all our readers!