Fewer than a third of Britain's most influential jobs are held by women. And barely 16 per cent of board members on the UK's top 100 listed companies are female. Change is coming – 10 years ago, it was a mere 7 per cent – but it is far too slow. At the current rate, it will be many decades before the genders are in balance.
Tackling institutional cultures can work wonders, as the fact that 34 per cent of senior civil service posts are occupied by women makes clear. But all the evidence shows that change comes most swiftly with legal quotas.
Before he became Prime Minister, David Cameron pledged that a third of his ministers would be women by the end of his first term. He is not even halfway there. Meanwhile, the threat of boardroom quotas is being dropped out of deference to the economic climate. Not good enough. There is no right time to make a difficult decision, and no excuse for putting this one off.