Well. It's a fascinating discussion, although I must confess that I started spacing out before reading all of it. But the general debate is one in which I have participated bajillions of times. First, to establish my own credentials- I am a female who learns Gemara. Not on-and-off, not in a class, not if it comes up in some properly tanach/mussar setting, but on my own, for fun, doing Daf Yomi, searching for chavrutot. Because I absolutely adore it. And feel that it makes me love G-d and Torah and holiness and sharpens my mind and so on and so forth.
So, what does that mean? Well, for one thing, it means that I don't feel that it's forbidden for women to learn Talmud. Which is at odds with the philosophy of my high school, it should live and be well. (I had one teacher who preferred to bring in sheets with a passage from the Talmud written out, rather than bring in a photocopy of the page, because she preferred that we not get familiar with the format of a daf of gemara. Yeah.) Of course, I have never heard any really good halachic reasons or sources for it to be forbidden, or even frowned upon, but then, if you started giving girls solid halachic reasons, that would sort of destroy the whole point, wouldn't it?
Darn. I am sounding bitter, aren't I? I'm trying not to be bitter here. Because really, from what I know of girls, 95% of them are not suited for learning Gemara. Whether this is natural or acquired through environment would make an interesting discussion, but it lacks, I believe, a nafka mina (useful difference) for this particular case. I am actually pretty much in agreement with the statement that females, as a whole, do not think as logically, factually, or analytically as men. I am willing to believe that they (well, 'we', I suppose. Distancing myself is cheating, isn't it?) are collectively worse at math and science, quite probably at Talmud as well.
Well. And where does that leave me? Shrug. As an anamoly, I guess. One that some people find disturbing and others love to rally around as if I were representative of some far larger trend. Really. When I tell friends that I am doing the daf, there are only three possible reactions, depending on their hashkafic leanings and gender: 1) The sideways glance at another Bais Yaakov friend, with the little amused shrug, translated into "Oh, that Tobie. She's a bit...you know, but it's not nice to start fights about people's beliefs" 2) The MO "right on, girl! you're fighting for all of us! Carry the banner proudly!" that makes me want to roll my eyes and/or run shrieking, 3) the (usually male) patronizing smile that says "A girl who thinks that she learns gemara. Adorable!". Well, actually, there are a few people who just kind of accept it, and those are cool and good people, but they are few and far between.
The point is...there was a point, back there somewhere. Ah, yes. The point is, I think that the gemara argument often presents a false choice: Women can't learn gemara vs. women should all learn gemara. I happen to fall in the middle- the desire and/or ability to learn gemara is rare among females. Those that can, should. Those that can't, they should live and be well.
And just because I learn gemara doesn't mean I want to be a rabbi. Possibly, if I were male, I would become a rabbi. But I'm not and I prefer to think that this was not just an oversight on the part of G-d. And the fact that I won't be a rabbi doesn't really bother me, since I happen to believe that women shouldn't be rabbis, both because the majority may not be able to handle the torah-knowledge requirements and for a variety of other reasons that are really too complicated to get into now.
But the point is, insofar as there is a point, that just because I'm a gemara-learning female doesn't describe my entire hashkafa or personality or anything. It's just something that I do, because I can and I think that I should.