And it has nothing to do with how intellectual the job is that the woman is doing, though I know my mom (who has a masters in engineering and worked for GE for a while) has stories to match Roberta’s. As she points out, there have been women doing “all that” since before it was popular. Your average housewife with reasonable cooking skills runs power equipment daily and uses tools that could kill you multiple times a day.
I’ve had male customers (generally they’re at least twice my age with a thick accent, though not always) literally refuse my help because I’m female. They’ll demand I get a guy. When I tell them I’m the only one in the department right now they’ll storm away in a huff. It’s always funny when they’ll find some male employee in another department and drag him over only to have the male employee refer them back to me.
I’ve had customers (always male) get quite snide when they see me driving the electric order picker (the power equipment that lifts the operator high enough to pull stock off of the top racks) or reach trucks (basically a small electric forklift). I’m sure the comments will become more interesting since I’m about a week short of getting my license for the big propane forklift. Apparently a “little girl” like me isn’t supposed to be using equipment like that. Some percentage of the comments may be meant admiringly, but that doesn’t keep them from being annoying when I’m concentrating on keeping the big-ass-end of the order picker from taking them off at the knees (something it very well COULD do). I’ll note that my male co-workers don’t have this issue. More than half the women in the store have one or more of their licenses.