Women’s tools and ergonomics

Here is an article I found on the importance of designing tools that work for women. Trying to use tools that just don’t work the way they are supposed to is a constant problem for me, ranging from the minor annoyance of having to find a step stool because I’m too short to reach something to blisters and sore muscles from tools improperly because I physically can’t use them the way they were designed. Power tools in particular tend to be problematic. A lot of drills and saws that are designed to be used one-handed are so bulky and heavy that I end up having to use both hands which puts my back and shoulders in an awkward position. Tools attached to poles like shovels, weed cutters, tree trimmers, etc are also a problem because the handles are never the right length. I end up having to work around the ends of the poles or can’t use the grips correctly. If it’s a tool I’m carrying, sometimes have to carry it in the wrong direction or lift it way higher than I should because the ends drag on the ground or cause me to trip. For example, when I’m checking fences and am carrying a tree trimmer bucket of fencing supplies, the arm carrying the trimmer has to be held at chest height so the handles aren’t dragging on the ground and I end up with a sore arm for a couple of days afterwards.

The percentage of female farmers and farm employees is growing, and with that the demand for tools that are designed for women is growing. There are more tool sets being marketed to women than there used to be, but be careful when you go out looking for “women’s tools” that you are buying are well-made tools ergonomically designed for women. A lot of the “women’s tool sets” that I’ve looked at are either 1) cheaply made tools that are just smaller rather than ergonomically re-designed or 2) tools that haven’t been redesigned at all but have been painted pink. Through jewelry making and stained glass I’ve found a couple fantastic sets of pliers, and Sears at one point had a really good women’s ergonomic hammer, but otherwise I haven’t had much luck. It sounds like there is a group of ergonomics researchers who are looking to change that though, so here’s hoping they come out with some better options.

Here is the original article:


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