Britain's largest companies will be required to make public the number of women in senior positions under plans set out by the Government.
From October 2013, firms listed on the stock exchange will have to include the figures in annual reports, alongside numbers on the gender make-up of the workforce as a whole.
According to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, the move will allow investors to identify gender imbalances and help companies address "talent blockages".
The move follows the Davies Review's recommendation that companies should be required to disclose the proportion of women working for them in order to help chairmen and chief executives "better understand the composition of their workforces" and monitor attrition rates.
Business minister Jo Swinson said: "Requiring businesses to disclose the number of senior women in the organisation will persuade companies to pursue greater diversity and develop the pipeline of talent, helping drive long-term culture change at the heart of business."
Dawn Nicholson, human resources consulting partner at professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, said that the move was a positive step.
"It is only by having clear and consistent measurement - and plenty of it - that we will be able to understand gender imbalances and what is needed to address them."
She added that companies need to look closely at their talent pipelines in order to ensure they are providing the opportunity and support needed to enable women to recognise their potential to progress to senior levels.
View full details of the proposals on XpertHR.