The extent to which men dominate the boards and senior management teams of many of the institutions which run the country has been laid bare by statistics revealed under freedom of information legislation.
The figures gathered by Scottish Labour's equalities spokeswoman Jackie Baillie cover the boards of public-sector organisations in areas such the arts and health, culture, justice and the environment.
Scotland's 14 health boards have an average of 37% women members.
So-called executive non-departmental public bodies such as Creative Scotland, the Crofting Commission and the National Museums of Scotland average just 30% female board membership, while 36% of senior management teams in those agencies are female.
Executive agencies such as the Scottish Prisons Service, Historic Scotland and Disclosure Scotland fare better, with women making up nearly half of their boards (47%) on average.
Jackie Baillie, whose office gathered the figures, accused the Scottish Government of a lack of urgency on gender equality at senior levels and called for quotas to address the imbalance.
However, the Scottish Government said ministers were working towards improving gender equality, but any changes to legislation were currently the responsibility of the Westminster Government.
Ms Baillie said: "The SNP have made empty promise after empty promise claiming they will address the imbalance of female representation on the boards and senior management teams of public bodies for years.
"These detailed figures show that there has been lots of talk, but no action.
"While senior appointments should be made on merit, there's a real issue here about equality at the heart of our public services. Women make up 49% of the working-age population and they are just as able as men.
"It is only right and fair that they are proportionately represented."
Among other national bodies the picture is mixed but women are generally heavily underrepresented. Whereas Audit Scotland's board is 40% female, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service board is 17% female.
Just four out of 13 members of the board of the Scottish Police Authority are women (31%) and the figure is the same in the Scottish Court Service. The figure for the Judicial Appointment Boards is three out of ten (30%).
Non-departmental public bodies suffer from a similar gender imbalance. The tourism body Visit Scotland has just one female board member out of six, and none of its senior management team are women. Sport Scotland's board is 75% male, Skills Development Scotland is 67% male and Scottish Natural Heritage has only one woman among nine board members.
Creative Scotland, which oversees investment in the arts, has just three female members on its board (27%), while the new agency running Scotland's children's panel system Children's Hearings Scotland has two women on its seven-person board.
The figures are likely to add urgency to pressure for change at a summit next week on Women in Public Life in Edinburgh.
It was announced recently by the Scottish Government in response to concerns about the appointment of women to public boards and is intended to explore reasons which might stop women applying for public positions and come up with a plan of action.
Ms Baillie said: "We have previously called for mandatory gender quotas in public bodies, even suggesting 40% would be better than the current situation. This works in other countries and given that we haven't been able to achieve it organically since the Scottish Parliament came into being then it seems beyond due that quotas are set.
"We want to positively encourage women to go for jobs where they will have decision-making powers to bring a positive impact to all our lives."
The Scottish Government says women now account for more than 35% of all members of public boards, but agrees with Scottish Labour that a representation of 40% women is desirable for all board positions.
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: "We know that we are still some way off achieving gender equality which is why we are working to address inequality for women through a range of activities including tackling occupational segregation and improving child care provision.
"There is no doubt that there is a need to increase the diversity and gender balance of the boards and senior management teams of institutions in both the public and private sectors across Scotland."
But, she said, changes to legislation that permit positive measures to increase women's representation currently remain the responsibility of UK Government.