Hmmm . Sylvia Ann Hewlett posts Why Women Are the Biggest Emerging Market on the Harvard Business Review site today.  She has some convincing statistics:

Women leaders are the new power behind the global economy, proclaims Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu‘s announcement of its second annual webcast celebrating International Women’s Day. In developing nations, women’s earned income is growing at 8.1 percent, compared with 5.8 percent for men. Globally, women control nearly $12 trillion of the $18 trillion total overall consumer spending, a figure predicted to rise to $15 trillion by 2014.

Question: Do you change your market message to appeal to one gender or the other?

Question: Can all business offerings be focused on one gender or the other? Are there some that can’t? Or shouldn’t?

Question: Is it the message that appeals to women? A gender-neutral product or service, with a gender-focused marketing message?

There’s a lot of paradox in this area. With some obvious exceptions, focusing on gender in marketing makes me uncomfortable. It leads to stereotypes. It leads to condescension in multiple directions.

On the other hand, may both genders be equal in freedom, choice, opportunity, education, earning potential, and power. But may that happen without dissolving gender differences. Well, real gender differences, not perceived or socially constructed gender differences.

Tim BerryTim Berry

Tim Berry is the founder and chairman of Palo Alto Software and Follow him on Twitter @Timberry.