SINGAPORE — The Weber Shandwick Collective is expanding its women’s health offering to Asia Pacific as part of the firm’s larger effort to help companies promote health equity.

The cross-discipline offering will leverage the expertise of specialists across the agency with an eye on closing the gender gap in health communications and, with that, shaping healthier lives for women across the region.

EMEA managing director of health Rachael Pay, who also is senior health sponsor for the APAC region, will lead the initiative. Pay already heads the offering in EMEA, which launched in March.

Data intelligence will be at the core of the service, which will also operate with help from external consultants from business, government, academia and societal organizations. Products and services will include the agency’s proprietary insights tool, The Women’s Health Indicator, which identifies specific gaps in women’s health.

Among the overarching goals of the initiative is to drive change in the definition of women’s health, which has long been pegged to reproductive health and diseases unique to women, so that organizations take a more holistic approach to addressing women’s health and wellness. In Asia, evidence shows women are at a higher risk of suffering from a multitude of diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, auto-immune diseases and Alzheimer’s disease have poorer outcomes than men.

“Research shows that across the Asia Pacific region, women are more prone to experiencing health inequalities brought on by sociocultural influences and conditions and political environments that limit their ability to initiate and access optimal care," said Liz Clark Martinez, VP of health strategy for Weber Shandwick Hong Kong & Singapore. "To foster change in the field of women's health, we must gain a deep understanding of women and the intersections of culture and modern medicine – only then can we support clients to actively drive progress across all areas of health by developing communications programs that truly resonate and drive action.”

The offering was fueled by agency research that showed the need for bespoke multi-stakeholder education and awareness campaigns, not only to reach women, but to resonate with them to drive meaningful change, the agency said.

Findings from media coverage and social media data analysed from April 2022 to March 2023 in multiple Asian markets show a lack of information specific to women about Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis (RA), despite the increased risks for women.

“At The Weber Shandwick Collective, we’re helping clients rewrite the script for women’s health, widely acknowledged as one of the critical areas of inequity in our region today. Our offer is driven by a force of passionate health experts and specialists from every office across our business, spanning areas like diversity, equity & inclusion (DEI), employee engagement and  Femtech innovation – who are catalysing change in fair treatment, care and access to truly reflect the experiences, cultures and life stages of women in Asia Pacific today," said Vanessa Ho Nikolovski, the firm’s chief client & growth officer, Weber for Asia Pacific. “Our unique offer will bridge knowledge gaps and help companies and brands sit at the heart of women’s health through creativity, action and measurable impact.”