Companies with females in the top leadership positions have almost twice as many women on their corporate boards than firms that are led by men, according to a report by Deloitte.
It shows that women hold just 15% of board seats worldwide, although this represents a slight increase from the 12% recorded in 2015, with New Zealand achieving the strongest growth in female representation since then.
Norway currently has the highest share of women on corporate boards with 42%, and the UAE has the least on 2.1%, while the UK is 13th on the list of 44 countries studied with 20%.
"As the number of female CEOs and board chairs climbs, it is likely to spur greater board diversity and build a culture of inclusion," Deloitte North West Europe chairman, Nick Owen, said.
"This is not just about token representation, but active participation by women on boards. Making boards and organisations inclusive is crucial to make sure that all perspectives are taken into account."
The top 20 countries for female representation at board level is shown below:
Greece currently has the highest percentage of company leaders that are women, followed by Colombia and New Zealand, while Denmark, Chile, Thailand, Morocco and the UAE do not have any.
This comes after a report from McKinsey & Co last year showed that increasing gender equality could add £150bn to UK GDP forecasts in 2025 through enhanced productivity and business reputation.
Despite the correlation between boardroom diversity and superior financial performance, it was recently found that just seven of the chief executives currently leading FTSE 100 companies are women.
"While most FTSE companies say they are committed to bolstering diversity, too many of them have yet to take enough action to deliver it," UBM chair, Dame Helen Alexander, said.
"Our fundamental rationale is that there is a strong business case behind achieving gender diversity: we need to use all available talent, not just that of the male population."
"To take a cue from James Carville, Bill Clinton's political election strategist, who once said: 'it's the economy stupid'. For us, the best case for diversity is an economic one."
Sign up to our free newsletter here and receive a weekly roundup of news concerning the actuarial profession