Have you ever asked yourself that question? Probably not, but you should.
I was out cutting juniper bushes for a garland and after all the landscaping I did this fall, I needed a new pair of gloves. So I went to the hardware store and looked and looked, but I could not find any gloves labeled “heavy duty” in women's sizes. There were these great, inexpensive, heavy-duty gardening gloves in men's medium or large (there is no men's small, apparently) but nothing comparable in women’s. I was sure I just wasn't seeing correctly, so when a female employee passed and asked if I needed any help, I asked her where the heavy-duty women's gloves were. She sighed and said she had worked as a landscaper for ten years and the glove issue was a constant frustration. You could get either reasonably priced men's gloves that fell off all the time, or expensive women's gloves that didn’t last. She said they just didn't make heavy-duty women's gloves in anything but the $20 version. Even then, she said, the quality was not good and they did not last as long as the same men's gloves. You can get heavy-duty men's gloves for about $5, so could wear out four pair of those for every one of the women's. All the women's gloves were labeled "medium duty” or “light duty.” What is up with that?
I decided on the cheaper pair of men's mediums, picked up a couple other items and went to check out. The guy at the register asked me if I had found everything I needed. "Yes," I said, "Everything except heavy-duty women's gloves."
"I know," he said, "Isn't it crazy how sexist the glove industry is? The manager at the store I used to work in was a woman and she looked everywhere for some heavy-duty women's gloves and wrote to all the manufacturers. They just don't make them."
I had no idea. I guess men don’t do “small” and women don’t do “heavy duty.” Maybe there would be a market if we changed the words. It's time to start a campaign. If anybody out there finds reasonably priced women’s gloves labeled “high intensity,” or some such, that would be great. Small men’s gloves labeled “firm fit” would be fine too.