Knives have been around in one form or another for about 3 million years. I’d like to think that the first knives were used by women to skin, cut, prepare meals and make clothing. People use knives everyday without giving it a second thought, because it is a tool, we rarely think of it as a weapon. Women may use knives more than men, but more men are attracted to these “shiny objects” as collector items.

Still, many knives were made to make “Woman’s Work” easier.  Take this knife for instance.

ULU (ULUIT – plural) – translated mean “woman’s knife”

ulu 1ulu2ulu3

Uluit have been found that date back to as early as 2500 BCE. Traditionally, the ulu would be passed down from generation to generation. It was believed that an ancestor’s knowledge was contained within the ulu and thus would also be passed on.

This all-purpose knife is traditionally used by Eskimo women. It was used for skinning and cleaning animals, cutting a child’s hair, cutting food and, if necessary, trimming blocks of snow and ice used to build an igloo. The ulu is still used for many purposes today.

The shape of the ulu ensures that the force is centered more over the middle of the blade than with an ordinary knife. This makes the ulu easier to use when cutting hard objects such as bone. Because the rocking motion used when cutting on a plate or board with an ulu pins down the food being cut, it is also easier to use an ulu one-handed.

KNIVES USED BY VIKING WOMEN

viking knife1 viking knife2viking knife3viking bodice

These are the knives commonly carried by women through out Europe and Scandinavia during what is known as the Viking Era. Many like these were found buried along side the women.

The blade was made to fit on one of the chains that hangs from a woman’s turtle brooch along with other items she would need like a comb; ear spoon; sewing implements, keys and other adornments.

Women carried eating knives and working knives associated with their craft.

THE SALVAVIRGO (“Chastity knife”)

Salvavirgo

During the 18th and most of the 19th century, large navajas were traditionally worn pushed into a belt or sash, with the distinctively curved, fish-shaped handle left exposed to ease removal. An exception to the predominance of large-bladed sevillanas was the salvavirgo (“chastity knife”), a small knife carried by Andalusian women in a bodice or leg garter as a weapon of self-defense.

BODICE DAGGER

bodice knifedagger and sheath

Bodice dagger by Chuck Staple

During the Medieval Ages & up to the 18th century, women of a certain profession or who lived in that part of town, would carry a bodice knife for self-defense. Women of respect or in the upper-class, would never carry one or have need too.

AUTOMATIC KNIVES

auto knives

presto knives 2

George Schrade and his New York Press Button Knife Company used switchblade patterns that were automatic versions of utilitarian jackknives and pocket knives, as well as smaller penknife models designed to appeal to women buyers. In 1917, Schrade licensed a new flylock switchblade design to the Challenge Cutlery Company.. Under the trademark of Flylock Knife Co., Challenge made several patterns of the flylock switchblade, including a small pen knife model designed to appeal to women buyers. A Challenge Cutlery advertisement of the day depicted a female hand operating a fly-lock automatic pen knife, accompanied by a caption urging women to buy one for their sewing kit so as not to break a nail while attempting to open a normal pen knife.

MODERN SELF-DEFENSE KNIVES

While knives for a woman’s self-defense are not designed to kill an attacker, they can provide a woman the opportunity to escape a would-be attack, which is the biggest benefit to carrying one. I always carry a knife in my pocket and I have at least 3 edged “tools” in my pocketbook.

KABAR – BESH BOGA

kbar boga

kbar in sheath

The KABAR Besh BOGA Knife is a woman’s personal self defense knife designed in collaboration with custom knife maker Brent Beshara. The Besh BOGA Knife (Back Off Get Away) has a double edge blade area with a Beshara designed blade geometry that maximizes tip strength, and a spine with micro serrations that is suitable for use as a file.

BENCHMADE – 585 MINI- BARRAGE

benchmade

In May 2010, Blade Magazine listed  Benchmade’s 585 Mini-Barrage among the most popular knife choices for women. This Warren Osborne design is for women or men who want the functionality of the full-sized Barrage in a small package.

SOG Specialty Flash Knife

Schrade-Knife

Say what you will, but if it’s PINK it was marketed for a woman. The Flash is just as slick as its name. With lightning-quick blade access from its powerful piston lock system, this blade pops out at the touch of a button.
Other features are a pink glass-enforced Zytel handle and a 1/2 serrated Satin finished blade. Flash knives also come with a reversible bayonet mounted clip that provides for extra discreet carrying.

Masters of Defense’s “LadyHawk

lady hawk

A great defensive knife choice for women is the LadyHawk by Masters of Defense. The knife was designed in 1996 by women’s world kickboxer champ Graciela Casillas-Boggs, who wanted a fixed blade crafted to severely wound any assailant who tried to remove the knife from its owner. The concealable blade is 2.6 inches long, and 5.5 inches in total length. The idea for this design came after Casillas stabbed one of two attempted rapists, using the thug’s own knife after disarming him.

HUNTING KNIVES

Buck – Ergohunter Adrenaline Avid

buck knife

Buck Knives designed this line in collaboration with Haley Heath as a female specific line of knives. The USA made ErgoHunter Adrenaline Series was modified for the female touch, offering a smaller style for female hands, a re-curved design for a safer grip and the addition of a finger guard at the bottom of the blade.

In the world of hunting, Haley Heath has been labeled as a top hunter in the industry. Haley epitomizes today’s generation of hunters and how a growing number of women are participating in this tradition.