Women who are keen on having the ability to defend themselves, will want to make as they say in Alcoholics Anonymous, a fearless and searching inventory of their physical fitness, abilities, as well as some intangibles such as; to what limit they will go in defending themselves, how hard and how long they would devote themselves, to training in pursuit of self defense skills.
Some women I have in mind may be 18 to 25 years old and should be in top condition and able to practice punches and kicks, running (away) or wielding a telescopic steel baton for instance. This however isn't always the case. Many women are getting fit and strong well into their 40's. So each woman must be brutally honest and make an assessment of their physical fitness levels, as well as their desire to take a self defense seminar, purchasing some sort of bag or other device, made for practicing punches, kicks, elbows and knee strikes.
For women who feel strongly about taking a proactive role in defending themselves and are in average to above average state of fitness, I'd recommend a few crash courses in women's self defense. These can be found in many local martial arts clubs, in the newspaper or seen on flyers, posted in public places such as supermarkets and stores. Take more than one and you may find that you learn much more from one instructor versus another. This is not to say that one is better than another, but just as each of us are individual human beings, so are martial arts clubs, seminars and so forth. You will find that you learn much better from one endeavor than from another. So check out what's going on in your area and take a friend to pal up with and learn a few things that may help in keeping you safe.
Then there are many women, who by the level of their fitness, age, mobility and mentality, can't get out and take this type of training. This group can have the same desire to defend themselves as the former but for one reason or another can't. For you ladies, I'd suggest learning to use a handgun properly or purchasing a self defense aid such as a stun gun or pepper spray. These items can keep you from being victimized as well.
For those who have a desire to be able to effectively defend themselves, you're already very aware of crime against women, prepared to learn self defense and motivated. This is excellent. From this point, do your self inventory, note your abilities and limitations and make a choice of which direction your path will be to a more secure life.
Physical training along with a bit of leverage such as a stun gun or pepper spray is great, but a 75 year old Granny with sharp eye and a good six-shooter is deadly. See you soon and stay safe!