UK prime minister David Cameron has told a Unilever meeting in Mumbai he does not have "nearly enough" women in his Cabinet and that governments and big corporations need to do more to encourage women into senior management positions.
Cameron has been criticised in Britain because only four full members of his 27 Cabinet ministers are women. Before the last election, he pledged to make sure one third of all his ministers are female, a target he has yet to hit.
According to The Telegraph Cameron was asked by a female executive during the meeting about the role of women in politics and business and whether the UK was able to teach India anything about opening up opportunities for women.
"We still have a long way to go," Cameron admitted. "If you look at the top businesses in Britain, there still aren't nearly enough women in the boardroom. If you look at politics in Britain, there aren't nearly enough women around the cabinet table"
He said governments and companies needed to do more to encourage and promote women, and organisations that didn't fill half their management teams with women were missing "more than 50% of the talent."
"Companies, political parties and other organisations need to actively go out and encourage women to join in, to sign up, to take the course, to become part of the endeavour. Just opening up and saying 'You're welcome to try if you want to' doesn't get over the fact that there have been all sorts of barriers in the way."