Out here in the West, it's not uncommon to see a woman with a work belt going into the hardware store. My friend Sally thinks nothing about scaling a ladder to repair the roofs on her rentals. She's as adept in operating a table saw as she is in handling a garden spade. Unfortunately, the contractor culture doesn't invite women. The OSHA Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health found that 41 percent of female construction workers were generally harassed, some 88 percent reported sexual harassment on the job.
More recently, power tool manufacturers have developed a line of contractor's tools for women, but I suspect it's a result of a market study than an indicator of acceptance. The good news about the products (often produced in pink color schemes) is that they're well designed for women's use in general remodeling and are more than simply a fashion statement.
Home improvement tools for women
The most-popular seller at the Tools for Women online store is the Apollo Tools 69-Piece Women Essential Tool Kit. Apollo claims that the pink-hued tools are "heat treated and chrome plated to resist corrosion", and meet or exceed ANSI critical standards. The tools are built to fit smaller hands than tools traditionally built for men. While lighter, the manufacturer says they're extremely durable.
The kit includes long-nose and slip-joint pliers, adjustable wrench, bit driver, stubby hammer, Phillips and slotted screwdrivers, 20 bits and picture hangers - all housed in a blow-molded case.
Pink Tools for women contractors
Apollo sells a 135-Piece Household Tool Kit that you can take on the road. It weighs only 7.7 pounds. In addition to the standard tools of the smaller 69-piece kit, you'll find a measuring tape, magnetic level, box cutter, a rechargeable cordless 4.8-volt screwdriver, a putty knife, four screwdrivers, UL electrical tape, and claw hammer.
The 135-piece kit sells at Apollo for around $50. The manufacturer will also donate a dollar from each purchase to breast cancer awareness efforts. Considering that the 69-piece tool kit sells for around $40, it's worth $10 to double the tools and buy the large kit.
For women who don't need so many tools or the pink tint, think about buying lower-voltage, lighter Black and Decker power tools for light jobs around the house and the typically sturdy Stanley brand non-power tools to complete a small, usable kit.
And fellas: if you can't keep your mouth shut and hands to yourself, go get a typing job!