I attended a very timely and informative luncheon last Friday thanks to the American Chamber of Commerce Singapore.  The keynote was by 20-year consulting veteran Avivah Wittenberg-Cox, who is the author of “How Women Mean Business, A Step by Step Guide to Profiting from Gender Balances Business” and co-author of “Why Women Mean Business: Understanding the Emergence of Our Next Economic Revolution”. Joining Avivah on the panel was Gwynne Master, Head of Banks for Asia Global Transaction Sales, Su-Yen Wong, senior partner and managing director of Mercer ASEAN, and Michael Zink, Country Head and Country Officer for Citi Singapore where they talked about how corporations need to get serious about women in business to be profitable, particularly in Asia.

Entitled “Pyramids to Pomegranates”, Avivah spoke about how women excel in today’s corporations that are highly matrixed because of our innate ability to make meaningful networks and collaborate more so than men who traditionally command as individual leaders.

She shared compelling stats that demonstrated that companies need to take women in leadership positions and their development seriously, and that companies need to spend more time and put more focus on selling to women, because we are officially a majority, NOT a minority in the marketplace.  And that’s not just in terms of population, but as part of the educated workforce (60%), a majority of consumers (80%) that spend a whopping US$13 trillion, more than China and India’s GDP combined, making women a true force to be reckoned with.

One of the most resonating points for me was how for women to really be heard and make a difference we need to leverage women networks outside our businesses, not just inside.  I see a massive opportunity to help build these networks for female entrepreneurs across Asia Pacific & Japan where today’s companies are not yet considering women in their advertising, marketing and public relations.

In the US, you can see this change already happening as some companies are embracing women customers – these include Buick, Jack Daniels and Wells Fargo – who are all doing smart campaigns for female professionals. It’s time for companies to take Asian women as seriously by engaging them on their own turf through targeted campaigns.

To find out more about how women stack up, stats-wise, check out the World Economic Forum’s Gender report.