A new report, published last week by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, shows that women continue to be passed over for the top jobs in Britain.

The report, Sex & Power 2011, measures the number of women in positions of power and influence across 27 occupational categories in the public and private sectors.

It found that more than 5,400 women are missing from Britain’s 26,000 most powerful posts. The results of this year’s report differ very little from those in the previous report published in 2008.

The Commission calculates that at the current rate of change it will take around 70 years to reach an equal number of men and women directors of FTSE 100 companies. And that it could be another 70 years before there are an equal number of women MPs in parliament – another 14 general elections.

Figures from this year’s report reveal that, while women are graduating from university in increasing numbers and achieve better degree results than men, they are not entering management ranks at the same rate, and many remain trapped in the layer below senior management.

The report found that:

  • In politics women represent:
    22.2 per cent of MPs (up from 19.3 per cent in 2008)
    17.4 per cent of Cabinet members (down from 26.1 per cent in 2008)
    13.2 per cent of local authority council leaders (down from 14.3 per cent in 2008)
  • In business women represent:
    12.5 per cent of directors of FTSE 100 companies (up from 11 per cent in 2008)
    7.8 per cent of directors in FTSE 250 companies (up from 7.2 per cent in 2008)
  • In the public and voluntary sector, women represent:
    12.9 per cent of senior members of the judiciary (up from 9.6 per cent in 2008)
    22.8 per cent of local authority chief executives (up from 19.5 per cent in 2008)
    35.5 per cent of head teachers of secondary schools (down from 36.3 per cent in 2008)
    14.3 per cent of university vice chancellors (down from 14.4 per cent in 2008)

To download the report, go to the Equality and Human Rights Commission