Fewer than one in five of the top jobs in public life in Wales is held by a woman, new research has claimed.
Most top-level jobs go to men, the report claims
The Equal Opportunities Commission in Wales and the Wales Women's National Coalition have published a report on sex equality called "Who Runs Wales?"
The bodies said that improvements had been made in areas such as the Welsh assembly where 50% of AMs are women.
But in other areas, the report calls for more work had to be done to achieve equality.
The new report argues there are no female chairs of police authorities, university vice chancellors or part leaders in Wales.
Only 10% of Welsh MPs and 14% of council leaders are women.
The report demands action to prevent a "waste of talent".
It claims that job recruitment should be open and fair, and there should be an end to a "long hours culture".
Kate Bennett, the Equal Opportunity Commission's Director in Wales said major decisions in Wales are generally taken "by an unrepresentative group of white, older men".
"Their priorities and interests may not reflect the concerns and needs of all people in Wales," she said.
"Whilst so few women work for the police at every level - especially at the top, it is unlikely that policing priorities will meet the needs of women such as safety in the street and in the home.
As a woman with a top job, Jane Davidson is said to be in the minority
"Carers, the elderly and disabled people would be better served if women had a bigger say on councils in Wales."
Mary Slater, from the Wales Women's National Coalition, said the report showed there was "a long way to go in Wales before women break through the power barrier.
"We are still a nation where only men rise to the top," she said.
The issues were discussed at a meeting in Cardiff's County Hall on Saturday.