Yesterday I pointed readers to an electrifying series by commercial mediator and arbitrator, Victoria Pynchon, which rips the lid off the ADR profession’s secret and unacknowledged shame: the absence of women and minorities from the prestigious ADR panels:
- “Negotiating Prejudice at U.C. San Diego“
- “Negotiating Gender: Why So Few Women Neutrals?“
- “Update on Gender Diversity in the Judiciary and in ADR“
Not content to merely name the problem, my colleague today proposes solutions in “Combatting Implicit Gender Bias in ADR“.
It takes guts to do what she Pynchon has done. She warns readers “that the topic of implicit gender bias is ‘toxic'”,with the potential of poisoning her market against her and costing her opportunities. Her post stands as a challenge to other women – and men, too – in ADR to break the silence and speak out. In solidarity, I stand shoulder to shoulder with my colleague on the West Coast. I issue a call to arms of my own:
It’s time for ADR membership organizations to make the vanquishing of implicit bias a local and national priority – and actually do something about it. The ABA Section on Dispute Resolution has a diversity committee, but it has apparently posted nothing new on its site in two years. This is also a committee limited in size with membership by appointment only. How about opening it up to those of us out here hungry for change and ready to act? The Association for Conflict Resolution has a diversity committee as well – what is it doing right now to actively battle implicit bias and improve access to business opportunities for all ADR professionals? What about the numerous regional and state associations for ADR professionals? NE-ACR? SCMA? TAM? This problem affects your membership – what will you do to make a difference? State bar associations with ADR committees, where are you on this? Exert your influence. And let the rest of know what needs to be done so we can roll up our sleeves and get to work.
There’s been time enough to talk. It’s time at last to do.