From the New York Times article at www.nytimes.com/2007/03/18/magazine/18wwlnsafire.t.html?ex=1177473600&en=ca8a109977429a00&ei=5070:
"I do not understand why," e-mails an irate Beathan Regan of New Hampshire, "Nancy Pelosi is
referred to as the first woman speaker of the House or Hillary Clinton is potentially the first woman
president. Is there some inherent power or stigma to female that spawns timidity in the writers of the media?"
As an adjective, the correct word is female. The word woman is a noun; therefore it can't appear
in front of another noun as a modifier. Hillary Clinton could be our first female president. For some reason, many
writers are opposed to using the word female to indicate the sex of a person. Perhaps they think of it as
pejorative. But those writers just need to get over it. Consider this test: What is the counterpart of woman? Man,
you say? We don't say that Johnny Weir is a man figure skater. We say that Johnny Weir is a male figure skater.
The phrase man figure skater just sounds like, well…caveman English. Think of woman president also
as caveman English. Yes, I realize HK has a book titled The Woman Triathlete. But I wasn't consulted on
that title. I also realize there's an organization called League of Women Voters. A good grammarian wasn't consulted
on that one, either.
If you see woman or women as an adjective, change it to female. It's the right thing to do.