SOME senior businesswomen are still being treated as subordinate to men who assume they are in the boardroom to take minutes, a recruitment consultant has said.

Sally Bennett, executive manager at Poole-based TeamExecutive, said that despite efforts to make workplaces more equal, she still heard stories “you can’t believe”.

She said: “I am still seeing and hearing true life experiences of women at the top who are not treated as an equal – and who still get asked to do menial jobs.

“Talking to senior women at board level, there is many a story that you can’t believe. You hear people saying they have seen female directors in a board meeting being asked to take the minutes. It still happens.”

Yesterday was International Women’s Day, which aimed to celebrate women’s achievements and highlight inequality.

But only last year, a survey of 700 company directors by PwC found that 65 per cent of directors claimed investors paid too much attention to the subject, up from 35 per cent the previous year. Only 38 per cent said gender diversity was “very important” to their boards.

Sally Bennett said she still heard stories of senior businesswomen being talked over or having people speak on their behalf.

She said firms should “make the room comfortable” for women.

“If you can start achieving diversity in your senior management on the board, you have also got to then make it comfortable that people are allowed to question and to contribute,” she said.

She added: “I am a great believer that until there are numbers put to it, and there has to be a percentage of diversity at the top, the hurdles are present.”

She said the best organisations – which included the RNLI in Poole – realised diversity had business benefits. “There are endless reports that diversity actually helps increase success from a financial perspective,” she added.