An expert has advised women to take charge of their own careers and suggested that confidence and assertiveness are key to making a successful entry into boardroom roles.

Change to Succeed executive coach Piya Khanna acknowledged that females can be put at a disadvantage by factors including out-of-work social networking between male executives, but insisted that the obstacles faced are not totally insurmountable.

"Women need to take more responsibility for their careers and build their networks, profile and personal brand in order to ensure they are visible," she explained. "The fact remains that men are favoured over women."

Ms Khanna added that more progress needs to be made in allowing women to work flexible hours, giving mothers the opportunity to switch to part-time jobs and extending both maternity and paternity leave.

Managers looking to build stronger relationships with female staff should consider attending the Employee Engagement Summit 2011, due to take place in central London next March.

Posted by Cameron Thomson