Quotas could be necessary to finally improve boardroom diversity in the US and ensure women can rise to the top of their field, according to an expert.

Tekla Szymanski, the managing editor of NYWICI, told Business Insider that setting up diversity targets can have a positive effect if done in the right way.

They allow talented female executives to circumvent pre-conceived notions about their ability and compete fairly with their male counterparts in a business, she argued.

Furthermore, "[quotas] help fight discrimination and nepotism, shatter glass ceilings and old-boy-networks," added Ms Szymanski.

However, she warned that they should never supplant hard work or ability, as this can lead to resentment or the promotion of people wrong for a role.

ION's ninth report on boardroom diversity recently found that some progress is being made on getting women into the top positions in the US but admitted that it is still happening slowly.

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