As a woman in our industry, I share with many of my male colleagues the pleasure of a job well done using power tools. I thought my generously sized Midwestern hands would take well to everything from a reciprocating saw to a power drill; little did I know that even this woman's hands have a hard time wrapping themselves around power tool handles.
This becomes an issue for many women, and not just because we want to work with our teams in the field. Having a female hand fit properly around a tool's handle is a major safety issue because we need to have full control of the power tool we're using at all times. If your grip is slipping, the tool is not just useless, it's a hazard to you and everyone around you. Thankfully, some tool manufacturers are starting to take notice.
Let's not confuse this with the latest trend: tool kits created especially for use by women. The issue of power tools is separate from those floral and pink tool kits, which might make sense for the female homeowner who needs hand tools for do-it-yourself tasks. My focus is women who make their bread and butter as remodeling professionals.
In certain regions, power tools with smaller grips are slowly beginning to make their way to market. Some of these are, as you would expect, marketed with a certain feminine slant. I was overjoyed the first time I saw a well-known homeowner's brand marketing their power products to women, but then my happiness turned sour when I realized these tools weren't up to the specifications I need to do my job.
While it's heartening to see power tools starting to be offered with smaller grips, companies can do better. Look at the statistics of women entering our industry in nontraditional roles, watch TV shows such as Hometime, talk with your peers —you'll see this isn't a fad. Women in this industry are capable and here to stay; we enjoy remodeling for the same reasons our male counterparts do.
There is hope: Larger companies like Bosch are exploring this issue. They're introducing the Impactor, a fastening driver (impact driver) with a smaller grip designed for high-torque applications.
I took an informal survey at several tool outlets, noticing it's not so much the way a grip itself is manufactured but how each tool is constructed in its entirety. An example of this comes from DeWalt: Several of their tools have smaller grips than their competitors'. Many tools could be slightly redesigned to feature smaller grips for women.