Just by going to see a movie, it is really easy to get the idea that women are natural victims. They are portrayed as unable to defend themselves and go into a panic as soon as they face a challenge. But nothing could be further from the truth.
Martial arts training is an excellent method to make women feel empowered. One learns to relax under pressure and use their wit rather than superior strength. The same is true for men as well.
Aikido and Tai Chi are two of the martial arts where you are most likely to find female practitioners. But women are quite capable of practicing any martial art of their choosing.
How can a weaker woman effectively defend herself from a stronger opponent?
It is interesting to consider that the founder of Aikido was only 4' 10" and would normally have been weaker than most attackers without training. But someone of that size as an historical fact played with the top Sumo wrestler of his day like he was a child.
Women may be physically weaker than men, but there are strategies that they can use to neutralize that advantage. They can receive the attack and return the power of the attacker back to him. She can understand body mechanics to maximize her efficiency and work against the opponent's weaknesses. It is simple a matter of study and training. The overconfident male is at a severe disadvantage if he attacks a calm and well trained woman.
Martial arts training is also a means to improve health and stay fit. For fitness, leg strength is developed by maintaining low and powerful stances throughout the practice as well as some of the specialized ground work. Arm strength is developed with weapons training. Core strength is developed through falling technique. After proficiency in falling is developed, one can develop an aerobic workout for cardio vascular benefits.