An annual report conducted by Nyenrode Business Universiteit in The Netherlands has concluded that more needs to be done to meet fast approaching gender equality targets in business.

The report, entitled ‘The Dutch Female Board Index 2011’ and conducted by Professor Mijntje Lückerath-Rovers of Nyenrode in collaboration with Rotterdam’s Erasmus University, states that since 2010 the total number of women at board level within 97 quoted public limited companies has increased by just five.

Only 66 of the 716 current executive and supervisory board members are women. And over 50% of the 97 quoted companies do not have any women at all on their executive or supervisory boards.

From 1 January 2012, businesses will face a statutory obligation to be transparent about their appointments. And despite Government target figures suggesting a 30% representation of women at board level, the average figure within quoted public limited companies is currently just 9.2%. Only one company currently meets the target figure on both the executive and the supervisory board. A mere eight companies meet the target figure for either.

Professor Lückerath-Rovers says: “Over the past five years, there has been a distinct, but slow, rise in the proportion of women at executive and supervisory board level. While progress is being made, our report clearly highlights the need for more businesses to diversify their boardrooms. This is not just an issue of basic equality – it makes poor business sense to exclude fifty per cent of the talent pool from senior positions.

In the UK, an independent review into Women on Boards suggested FTSE 100 companies should aim for a minimum of twenty five per cent female board member representation by 2015. Since the publication of this report, the number of women at board level within these companies has doubled.