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There has been “real progress made” as more women than ever make up the boardrooms of the UK’s top companies, a recent government report has shown.

The third annual Progress Report into Women’s Boards, which was published earlier today, found that women now account for 20.7% of board positions in the FTSE 100 – up from 12.5% in 2011 and 17.3% in April 2013.

Lord Davis of Abersoch originally set a target in 2011 of achieving 25% by 2015. Fewer than 50 new women appointments need to be made to reach this target.

Lord Davis said:

“The rate of change that we have seen at the heart of our biggest companies over the last 3 years has been impressive. The voluntary approach is working and companies have got the message that better balanced boards bring real business benefits. We are finally seeing a culture change taking place at the heart of British business.

“However, the eyes of the world are on us as we enter the home straight. They are judging us as to whether the voluntary approach, rather than regulation, will work– we need to now prove we can do this on our own.”

Women now account for 231 of the 1,117 FTSE 100 board positions and only two all-male boards remain – Glencore Xstrata and Antofagasta.

More FTSE Chairs are convinced of the value of women in the boardroom and the report has shown that companies are setting themselves challenging targets, while the pipeline continues to be strengthened.

Culture Secretary Maria Miller said:

“The workplace was designed by men for men. Women do not need special treatment, they just need a modernised workplace that gives them a level playing field.”

She said supporting women to fulfil their potential should be a “core business issue” for the “long term sustainability of our economy”.

Photo by James Brooks