A couple of weeks ago I posted about a great Australian site offering women their own gardening and DIY tools. And it got me thinking…what is it that women want in a gardening tool that they’re not getting at the moment?
Are gardening tool manufacturers specifically designing equipment aimed at the male market? If so, what would their reasons be for doing this. Surely there are more women gardeners than men – even though I couldn’t find a conclusive finding on the matter one could ascertain this purely from the ratio of women to male gardening bloggers.
Firstly, who uses gardening tools? In our garden the predominant tool user is me. I do most of the lifting, the digging, the raking, the mowing and the cultivating – and I’m male. But I’m not sure that I represent the vast majority of gardeners. Certainly most of my male friends (with security issues) frown on my fanatical passion for growing plants and flowers.
And, do I use gardening tools the most because they’ve been manufactured to male specifications? Would my wife use more tools in the garden if they were fashioned to her physical requirements?
According to this press release here are some of the features that manufacturers are incorporating into gardening tools and equipment to try and seduce the female market;
— Easy to start – Avoid the aggravation by purchasing products that offer an advanced starting system and take less muscle to get the engines roaring. For example, there are lawn mowers that start with a push of a button and trimmers that have spring-starting assistance that reduces pulling resistance by up to 55 percent.
— Lightweight – Whether you’re planting new flowers or treating the lawn for weeds, gardening can be an exhausting task. To ease the pain, manufacturers are introducing smaller or portable versions of their most popular products that are often less than half the weight of their counterparts. For example, this year, Troy-Bilt introduced an edger weighing less than 25 lbs., making it simple to maneuver and easy to store.
— Versatile – Research shows women today are multi-taskers and are seeking innovation plus convenience to meet their busy schedules. To meet this demand, many products have interchangeable parts that allow gardeners to tackle more than one task. For example, a full-line of Troy-Bilt’s string trimmers, including the TB575SS, has the ability to accept eight interchangeable attachments, making it a snap to edge, cut, trim and blow.
— Environmentally friendly – Most outdoor power equipment features a two-cycle engine that requires the hassle of mixing oil and gas. Many products are now offering a four-cycle engine. It eliminates the need to mix gas and oil, cuts emissions by 50 percent and offers 30 percent greater fuel efficiency.
Well, that might be all okay when it comes to power equipment but what about the standard hoe, garden fork or digging spade. What advances have been made to make them better for the women who use them?
To be honest, I’m not sure there has been much progress in this area. Most manufacturers have opted for products that are beneficial to gardeners alike but have never really plumbed the depths of suiting women specifically.
If you take the garden spade, as an example, the size of the shaft is aimed at a man’s height. The mass required to plunge it into the soil is more effective if it’s above the average weight for a woman. And, the handle is easier to hold if you have bigger hands.
So, for those inventors who are looking for a new challenge I think the next frontier in gardening equipment is going to be developing tools that are aimed at women specifically.