According to this article, women comprise 85% of the consumer market today – and that means that they are not only a very attractive demographic, but they are key to a successful product, and that’s why thinking of their wants and needs when designing a new one is essential.
The big question is, therefore, not whether to design for women, but how to do it. Of course you can focus your design solely on women, and that may work fine with woman specific products, but if you’re designing a product for both sexes you risk alienating man or, even worse, push women away from your product because they perceive it as an expression of the separation of man and women and that being a woman means being different. This is an interesting perspective, and forces the design to focus on subtlety and true solutions to women problems without segregating them to their own niche market.
This is called transparent design, because the final product is just what it is, with no apparent differentiation, but with underlying attention to the differences that exist and to the necessary decisions to accommodate them. A famous quote about design states that “Good design, when done well, is invisible” and I think that this explains perfectly the idea here: it’s not good to forget the differences of your target market or to make them overtly obvious, the ideal designer will create for all, with attention to each, but with a non separatist final product.