The rejection of the proposals for firms to have gender quotas may lead to a rise in the number of businesses that require dispute resolution advice.

Lord Davies of Abersoch has ruled out the decision to introduce quotas on the proportion of women employees in businesses.

He stated that instead, firms will be able to hire female workers on a voluntary basis, without the threat of enforcement.

While a number of countries in Europe such as France and Spain have these quotas in order to make sure problems of gender discrimination are reduced, there has been opposition to their introduction in the UK.

Angela Knight, chief executive of the British Bankers' Association, said: "There needs to be some positive encouragement for women, but quotas don't necessarily lead to the right answer."

Despite Davies's decision, Global Marathon Europe regional leader Teresa Schofield said gender discrimination is "an issue no matter what claims are made about diversity".

Posted by Hayley Edwards