Almost one of every three female directors surveyed by the Institute of Directors say a glass ceiling still exists in Irish business.

Its Women in Boards survey for 2015 was compiled following interviews with a sample of 196 female members of the Institute of Directors.

The proportion saying a glass ceiling exists is 4% lower than the 35% figure in the previous Women in Boards survey in 2013.

Four out of five agreed that awarenes of the importance of gender diversity is improving in Ireland.

However, it seems many still believe the playing field is unequal. More than half of the respondents said women do not have the same access to information as men when it comes to available board positions.

The reasons cited for that were interlocking directorships, better contacts and stronger networks available to men.

The survey found women can therefore be less likely to put themselves forward for board positions.

Three quarters said it is more difficult for women to become non-executive directors in Ireland than men and 62% said women are more reluctant than men to put themselves forward for such positions up from 43% in 2013.