Progress that has been made in reducing the sex discrimination faced by female workers in the UK could be reversed as a result of the recession.
This is according to research conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in honour of International Women's Day.
The occasion is marked each year on March 8th and is a celebration of women across the world.
PwC found that nearly one in five people polled believed women have to work longer and harder than men in order to get to the top in business.
In addition, only 11 per cent of men thought that women were good leaders and an inspiration.
Responding to the results, director of diversity at PwC Sarah Churchman said: "The fight to the top gets tougher all the time the more squeeze companies put on learning, promotions and pay rises."
In addition, job insecurity would reverse equality progress because it breeds "presenteeism", whereby people protect their own work and there is an even more difficult struggle to the top, she added.