Let me review,
Bernath Sensei said, "I started Aikido in 1973. I was 20 years old. I wanted to be able to protect myself so I was interested in taking a martial art. I visited a couple of karate dojos, but they were practicing exactly what I wanted to avoid, direct physical confrontation. I wanted to be able to protect myself without a confrontation.
Then I saw an Aikido demonstration in a park. It was energetic and intriguing. It looked like a powerful dance. I signed up, telling myself -- I'm going to take this just one month at a time.
Aikido was much more complicated than I expected. But, I'm still going, just taking one month at a time. --- Penny Bernath Sensei Read interview in full
Here we have a successful Sensei who happens to be a women. Now in bold is what I want to focus on because it really is a good example of problems, and how personal issue(s) solved those problems. By focusing on personal issue(s), it runs interference to doubt, being unsure, not being over-whelmed.
She seen Aikido as dance, something she related to in contrast to karate. I made this point before on how to attract women to the dojo. By seeing Aikido as a dance and not being confrontational like Karate created a great interest. She looked to Aikido for self-defense - the personal issue that had to exist and the motivator.
I think a huge barrier in Aikido is business as usual attitude, don't change a thing, don't seriously address issues and find real the solutions to the problems beyond the default of cliques, and bable. I think that is what keeps many women out of Aikido. Aikido has the ability to be more accomodating e.g. Bernath's reasons to take Aikido instead of another martial art.