Women Pioneers in Dispute Resolution

6 December, 2018

In a world where women outnumber men and where women are active in all business and legal fields, women remain under-represented in key positions in all fields. The under-representation is not a matter of lack of talented women, but a lack of visibility and recognition. The dispute resolution field benefits from a significant number of talented female practitioners and role models.

The Women Pioneers in Dispute Resolution book is meant to demonstrate that women are successful, that their path differs from a person to another and that there is no unique way to getting to lead positions. Despite the obstacles female practitioners had to overcome many women have succeeded and have been recognised by their peers. They share their experiences about their careers and opportunities. Some stories demonstrate that irrespective of where in the world they have been working, their challenges have been identical. They succeeded however in breaking down stereotypes and establishing their reputations. The stories also demonstrate the change that has been brought about in society as a result of the work of the storyteller. This book is a tribute not only to the women featured, but also to all women who militated for women’s rights and for equal treatment, especially the ones who remained anonymous. It is an inspiration to all generations.

We owe this book to Adela Llatja and Rezarta Veizaj, and to the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ).

The first book about women published by the GIZ in 2013 was titled “Behind the Masks(click here to download). It featured 34 anonymous Albanian women wearing Venetian masks and telling their true life stories. The theme of the interviews was “Compromise”, which was chosen for two reasons: first, compromise is the essence of the European Union of which Albania would like to become a member, and second, women rarely have a voice in daily life, and the compromises they make in their lives are often forgotten. The women who prepared the book came from different backgrounds but their common goal was to promote gender equality.

Adela and Rezarta were inspired to continue featuring women within the “Gender Oriented Implementation of the ADR Instruments in the Western Balkan” project. The project’s goal was to support the promotion of alternative dispute settlement mechanisms and particularly to promote the participation of female practitioners. They invited Louise Barrington and Mirèze Philippe to cooperate on this project aimed at featuring women who succeeded in dispute resolution.

The cooperation resulted in the publication in September 2015 of the first edition of the book on Women Pioneers in Dispute Resolution (click here to download). Time was short for the preparation of the book, therefore only 25 women were featured. The book was enthusiastically received, which inspired us to take on the challenge of preparing a second edition, in recognition of how necessary it was to share information about other Women Pioneers.

The second edition of the book on Women Pioneers in Dispute Resolution published in September 2018 was launched in New York on 8 November 2018 during the Gala Dinner celebrating ArbitralWomen 25th Jubilee (click here to download). This second edition features women from a wide geographical coverage: 78 women from nearly 50 countries and from all continents.

The women considered for inclusion in the book are mainly:

  1. women who have been active in this field since the 1980s/1990s and are reputed,
  2. women of younger generations who have been pioneers in this field in their countries and are reputed,
  3. women who were the first to be appointed at the head of a dispute resolution organisation, or
  4. women who have been pioneers in starting an organisation or an initiative related to dispute resolution.

Over 150 women were contacted but those who were not able to share their story in time will hopefully be featured in a future edition. We would be happy to learn about other women pioneers in dispute resolution who may not be already on our list.

Recently, discussions about gender parity in the dispute resolution field gained increased popularity around the world. The trend is more successful than anyone could have anticipated. This alone could be considered a victory and the impact is very positive.

For me personally, it was a pleasure to work on this incredible publication, since the many hours that I invested allowed me to learn more about the individual stories of these inspiring women than could ever be fully captured in the book. It was a labour of love for me and for Rezarta that has been incredibly rewarding, and the resulting publication speaks for itself. It was likewise for Assunta Ndami who helped editing the book and who tremendously enjoyed it. Every female dispute resolution practitioner should download a copy.

We hope you will enjoy the stories.

Mirèze Philippe, ArbitralWomen co-founder


Click here to download the Second Edition of the “Women Pioneers in Dispute Resolution” book.

Click here to download the First Edition of the “Women Pioneers in Dispute Resolution” book.

Click here to download the book “Behind the Masks”.