Re: Can women defend themselves?
Mary, I think you're being too gender-specific. I've met (and taught) quite a few people of both sexes who I've wonder whether they'll ever survive a violent encounter if they had to fight rather than manage to evade. It's not that they're cowards or wimps, in fact their own philosophy on life scares me and I couldn't bring myself to follow it, they just seem incapable of violence, even the nice "safe" type we use in the dojo.
Otherwise, if you're going into comparisons across the sexes, you'd have to first give me the stats of the two people you're comparing or I'd have to play the averages and make sweeping assumptions on size, strength, skill and experience involved. I'm with Darren on this, good big'un > good little'un, which sucks (says the shortarse..).
Ian, just read your "less resistent to pain", don't try telling this one if you're in the delivery room...