A third of the UK's leading companies still have no women on their board, according to figures published yesterday.
However, there has been a marked improvement in female representation at the top, theFemale FTSE Report 2004 found. Almost one in five boardroom appointments went to women this year – up from one in 10 two years ago.
Trade and industry secretary, Patricia Hewitt, said that while improvements had been made, there was much further to go in pushing gender equality and ensuring companies were making the most of all available talent.
Hewitt announced that the Government itself would look at its own record on senior appointments to ensure its recruitment policies were drawing on the widest range of talent.
"Just as businesses should cast their net widely to get the best people onto their boards, so should the Government," she said. "We want to lead by example, so I am announcing that Government headhunters, who recruit for most of the 4,000 vacancies a year across Government, will have a new requirement to present more diverse fields of candidates."