Gender quotas in politics and the workplace are "insulting" and a "terrible slur" on women, according to a Labour peer.

Baroness Goudie, speaking at the Economist's Talent Management conference, explained that she has always been against quotas both in politics and in the boardroom.

"It's an insult to women to be told you're a quota. Does that mean you're not up to the merit of getting the job yourself? It's a terrible slur on us," she argued.

"The slur really is that the head hunters don't really want to look outside of the box. They just want to look in London, they don't really want to know about Birmingham.

"Or what about Scotland? There are some great people in this country. It's really important that we don't keep looking at London."

The comments come after mining giant Glencore appointed its first female board member.

This will help alleviate concerns that women in Britain are still failing to break through the glass ceiling as only 20% of FTSE 100 boardroom members are held by females.

According to the benchmark Cranfield Female FTSE report, launched by Britain's business secretary Vince Cable, while FTSE 100 firms are employing more women in senior positions, the percentages still fall short of the 2015 target of 25%.

Last year, 20.7% of board positions in FTSE 100 companies were held by women, up from 17.3% and 12.5% in the two previous periods.

The report has provided a regular measure of the number of women executive directors on the corporate boards of the UK's top 100 companies since 1999.