Prime Minister Gordon Brown speaking at a breakfast on International Women's Day

IssueGordon Brown has called for more women in Britain's boardrooms as he met leading female executives at a breakfast meeting to mark International Women's Day.

Key points The Prime Minister said: "We all recognise the value of strong role models for women in all walks of life - and there are many in politics, the arts, public services, sport and the third sector. But there are too few in Britain's boardrooms. When more than half of graduates are women, it is completely unacceptable that some of our top 100 public companies have not a single woman on their boards.

"A new principle in the governance code on diversity would build on the provisions in the Equality Bill, which allow employers to take positive action when recruiting to balance their workforce.

"But if we do not see a dramatic change in the composition of company boards in the future, we will need to consider taking more serious action to ensure companies recruit from the diverse pool of exceptional talent we have in the UK."

International Women's Day is a global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future. It is an opportunity for organisations, individuals and Government to celebrate the progress made in the past 99 years since the first International Women's Day.

The British government has taken action to make a real difference to the lives of women and their families: to help them balance working and family lives, to be safe from violence and abuse, to have the right healthcare, to be supported in retirement and to have better opportunities to be represented at all levels at work and in public and civic life.

International Women of Courage Award Ceremony

Baroness Goudie's speech in the House of Lords in the debate to celebrate International Women's day