An EU commissioner has suggested gender quotas may be introducedA European politician has expressed dissatisfaction at the amount of women occupying spots at the top of the continent's leading companies and suggested new legislation could be enforced to tackle the issue.

Launching the trading bloc's five-year plan for gender equality, EU justice commissioner Viviane Reding warned corporations that the trading bloc may force their hand unless they introduce more women into the boardroom.

"I have not been an advocate of quotas for women in senior business posts in the past, but given the lack of progress in this area, we might in the future have to consider taking initiatives," she explained.

Ms Reding added that she will hold talks with executives at leading European firms next year to establish their plans for self-regulation, before deciding on the possibility of further EU intervention in 2012.

Last week, home secretary Theresa May claimed enterprises can boost productivity and innovation by hiring an increased number of female employees "at all levels".

Posted by Cameron Thomson