Inequality in the workplace, particularly with regards to the gender pay gap, is not something that can be tackled through legislation and will simply have to be resolved over time, it has been suggested.

According to the president of the British Association of Women Entrepreneurs, there has been a "big shift" in number of women working in top jobs, but it will be "a lot of years" before female employees enjoy the same opportunities as their male counterparts.

Tanya Hine said: "It’s not something that can be legislated or dealt with. It just causes more upset and it’s really not the solution, but slowly of course it will happen."

According to the Fawcett Society, female full-time workers earn on average 17 per cent less per hour than male full-time workers.

However, research from management consultancy Mckinsey reveals that European countries with a higher proportion of women in leadership roles enjoy an above average financial performance.