Women are still failing to break into senior management or gain places on the board, according to a World Economic Forum (WEF) report.
In the 20 countries covered by the Corporate Gender Gap Report, an average of less than 5% of companies had women chief executives, rising to 13% in Finland and 12% in Norway, where recent legislation means 40% of a public company board must be female.
While there are more women than ever in the workforce, they still struggle to climb the career ladder.
Respondents to the survey blamed this on "masculine or patriarchal corporate cultures" and a lack of role-models.
WEF founder and executive chairman Professor Klaus Schwab said: "Women account for one-half of the potential talent-base throughout the world and therefore, over time, a nation's competitiveness depends significantly on whether and how it educates and utilises its female talent."