The men have a shorter qualifying window, so perhaps a bit of a greater sense of urgency there. Also, men are allowed to qualify via 5000m times, women are not. I doubt the respective men's and women's qualifying times reflect a relation to the World or American records for the events, it likely has more to do with how those times show up on annual performance lists in recent years and the desired field sizes at the trials races. Any relationship to any record and even that they may serve as motivation for runners is purely coincidental and not necessarily the intended outcome of the trials races. If the women's standard is statistically softer than the men's, that is simply a reflection on the fact that the women's side of the sport is competitively not as strong as the men's.
and that makes sense to have reflective overall numbers, but then where do they come up with “A” standards and why in the world did they “tighten” the women's A standard when at the trials themselves in 2004…when 14 women at the trials themselves achieved the sub 2:40 vs the men (on a much harder day) where 22 when under the 2:20 standard. Why would they tighten the womens “A” standard to the now sub 2:39?