The massive gender bias in Britain's civil service has been revealed, with men continuing to dominate the top jobs.
Campaigners said the breakdown of the percentage of women at different levels within Whitehall, released in Parliament on Wednesday, painted a "damning picture".
It shows that the lowest three rungs are majority female - but after that the men take over. In the top three pay bands the number of women falls below a third, and a the most senior permanent secretary level, just five out of 35 members of staff are women.
This means the top level of the senior civil service is even more male-dominated than government ministerial posts.
That gender balance in full
The imbalance in plum Whitehall jobs comes amid criticism over the number of women MPs in the government.
Just 25 out of 122 coalition ministers are female.
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Charlie Woodworth, of the Fawcett Society, told HuffPost UK: "These figures paint a damning picture - the higher you go up the tree, the more women seem to drop off. We urgently need to see more women at the heart of government - elected, appointed, and employed by the civil service in senior roles.'"
The Office for National Statistics published the breakdown of the sexes in response to a question from Labour MP Nick Brown.
It shows that overall, 53% of the 446,379 civil servants are women, and that administrative jobs have a majority of females.
Woodworth went on: "Across the UK today, women are under represented in positions of influence and power. In politics, business and public life more generally, too many decisions are being made with no women around the table."
"The lack of diversity in public life weakens democracy and public confidence in it.
"A diversity of decision-makers can make a positive difference to actual decision-making itself. Excluding women means missing out on the substantial benefits that the greater involvement of women would bring, while also wasting the huge investment made in women and girls through the education system and beyond.
"A more diverse body politic with a wider spread of expertise that reflects the life experience of the entire human race would be better placed to lead us through the complex times that face us.
"Although Governments are generally thought to be composed of elected politicians, the activity of government – and therefore the exercise of its power – is carried by a variety of officials and bodies, including the civil service.