The proportion of women on the boards of FTSE 100 companies has reached 20% for the first time, fuelling hopes that the government target of 25% can be reached by the 2015 deadline without introducing quotas.
However, despite progress in the area, just four women are currently chief executives of companies in the FTSE 100.
Data released by the Professional Boards Forum’s Board Watch shows that on January 9, women made up 20.4% of FTSE 100 directors, a rise of three percentage points since last May, when the figure stood at 17.4%, and up from 12.5% three years ago.
In contrast, numbers of female chief executives stands at 7.2%, just a small rise from 5.5% three years ago.
The figures show that 27% of FTSE 100 board roles have gone to women over the last 10 months. To reach the 2015 target of 25% representation, 57 more women need to be appointed to boards.
According to the FT, within the FTSE 100, the companies with the highest proportion of women on the board are Diageo (44%), Capita (40%), Royal Mail and Unilever (each 36%).
The FTSE 250, which is somewhat behind the FTSE 100 in appointing women to boards, is also making progress. Women now make up 15.1% of female directors, up from 13.8% last May and up from just 7.8% three years ago.