It amazes me that so many women stay away from weight training because they think it will make them look manly. This misconception comes from what female body building has become. Yes women's strength training will produce female muscle growth, but that is a good thing.
Women do not put on mass like men. Unfortunately steroid popping women on the pro bodybuilding circuit have molded themselves into freakishly large women. But even these women must to to extraordinary lengths to achieve this, and then as soon as they take a break from training their bodies begin to take gentler curves.
Weight training for women is one of the best exercise programs for any woman. It not only increases your strength, it also tightens your body, fires up your metabolism and helps you burn calories even when you are resting. Cardio has a greater inital burn, but strength training and your bodies recuperation from strength training will burn more calories over the length of a day.
Actually are better at weight training than men (my opinion). They normally have much better form than men, because men's egos cause them to often lift more than they should and end up having sloppy form. Women are safer, have better form and follow the workout program.
Even with this inherent advantage, many women that try strength training to induce female muscle growth still fail because they don't know their unique starting point. Your personal starting point will not be the same as friends or workout partner. You should use a workout program based on your body type and/or shape, including your stats, activity level, current diet and exercise program.
If you don't know your personal body status, you will have a very hard time finding yournutrition and training starting point. A great program to start out with is Iron Dolls. If you want to get a rock hard body, this guide will get you there fast.
Women should not shy away from strength training, they will not look manly, just the opposite a lean fit body is the way to go. Along with a good diet and plenty of rest, women's strength training is the best way to go in my opinion.