A shake-up of City firms in which more women will be put in boardrooms, will be undertaken as part of a review of corporate governance.
The Financial Reporting Council said it wanted to “explicitly” ensure hiring committees took gender and diversity into account.
Only 12 per cent of FTSE 100 directors are women and seven per cent in FTSE 250 companies, while a quarter of FTSE 100 companies have no women on the board.
Candidates in future should be “with due regard for the benefits of diversity on the board, including gender”, under the planned changes.
Equalities minister Lynne Featherstone said: “A more equal workplace is a more successful workplace and the stronger provision on gender diversity in the new code is an important step towards building a fair and equal society by tackling discrimination at work.”