What you describe in the edit isn't quite gender equality. It's something a bit more nuanced than that. Fortunately, however, you are describing it with respect to a combat situation (rape), so that gives us some room to at least make some statements.
You say you seek to develop a martial art in the Eastern style which substantially counteracts the advantages a male may have in a combat situation. Ironically enough, you're basically done: you have answered your own question with the question.
It is generally accepted that martial arts training decreases your likelyhood of being assaulted, and rape is included in that. It's virtually impossible to prove this to a high level of scientific rigor because people aren't willing to do double-blind trials ("you're in the control group. You get sham training. Now go out there and see if you get raped."), so the best we can do is a-posterior analysis. One self defense school has put forth an analysis suggesting their training decreases the likelihood of being raped by 83% (though, because it is not double-blinded, they can't discount the possibility that that is a correlation with the a-priori mindset of women who take martial arts)
Now particularly focusing on rape, the United State DoJ recognizes the value of resisting an assailant in attempted rape situations:
Most self-protective actions significantly reduce the risk that a rape will be completed. In particular, certain actions reduce the risk of rape more than 80 percent compared to nonresistance. The most effective actions, according to victims, are attacking or struggling against their attacker, running away, and verbally warning the attacker.
Now I think one can strongly argue that martial arts training increases your ability to fight back. Again, there's no double-blind studies on something as morally demanding as this, but I think the argument is strong.
Also, martial arts and self defense programs worth their salt all share one common characteristic: they teach students how to see a fight coming and avoid it. I give this only one paragraph, because it's simple, but it's probably the single most important aspect of such trainings. A fight avoided is ten thousand times better than a fight won.
So you have your answer: the martial art you seek to create is... .a martial art.
Well, almost. You seek something more superhuman, so the first concern you should have is that the males will take up the art and learn it. To capture this, I recommend we switch from using a single number to describe one's "defense" ability to using a pair of numbers associated with how you go about getting your way. One number is the masculine number, and one is the feminine. These numbers represent how well you can manipulate your opponent using that which is stereotypically masculine and sterotypically feminine. The first thing that should be obvious is that if an attacker has learned to manipulate their opponent with feminine skills and they have masculine skills as well, they will beat someone with equal feminine skills but lesser masculine skills. The dual of that is true as well, but this half is the part you should be concerned with: a male who learns this art will once again have an advantage over a female who learns the same art to the same skill.
This suggests to me the obvious reality, any martial art which will function in this sort of an environment will reward having both sides of the coin. The ultimate success is when one has the ability to use everything against their opponent, not just that which is masculine or that which is feminine.
Thus, what you need to make sure is that your concept of masculine and feminine (or merely male and female) are nuanced enough that if someone achieves mastery of both skills, their influence on the world is what you seek to see. Presumably this means that a master of both skills would not seek to rape. As you write your story, make sure you give both sides enough nuance to be able to defend this argument.
As it turns out, I personally find that Eastern martial arts fit the bill here. I am by no means an expert, but what I have seen suggests that they are willing to sacrifice more at the lower levels in order to achieve a higher calling at the higher levels. Self-defense courses (which I would argue are examples of Western thinking) typically stop before that, focusing on techniques because those self-defense courses are typically not life-long pursuits. Eastern martial arts are typically sold as life-long pursuits.
So you really have answered your own question: you seek an Eastern martial art... the thing you need is an Eastern martial art. Just pick one and run with it!
The last comment I wanted to make was on your "defense" number, because it happens to demonstrate something rather nifty. Such a number is too limited... there's not enough numbers. And to argue that, I turn to John Conway and his concept of Surreal Numbers.
I'm not joking! That's what he called them. He was looking at ways to win at the game of Go by subdividing the board. If you can find the parts of the board which are "most important," you can focus your time at winning there. What he found was a curious pattern which occurs. In combinatoric games (where you see everything, and there is a winner and a loser, plus a few other requirements), the outcome with perfect play is always one of four possibilities:
- Player A will win
- Player B will lose
- First player to move wins
- First player to move loses
He found that you can assign positions on a go-board surreal numbers based on the potential moves which can happen. He could assign them such that if you have a board position number X:
- If X > 0, player A will win
- If X < 0, player B will win
- If X == 0, first to move loses
- If X is not comparable to 0, first to move wins
(In surreal numbers, ordering is not complete, so some numbers are simply not comparable. A trivial analogy might be built on have red balls and blue balls. 1 red and 1 blue is clearly greater than 0 red and 1 blue, but it's not clear if 1 red is greater than 1 blue... they're simply different)
He showed that you can assemble a board up from a bunch of these sub-board results and **add* the surreal numbers together to determine the winner.
Why do I point this out? Well, first off, such systems reward thinking over brute strength, which is what you seek. Second, they fit well with combat, if you make the assumption that combatants take turns striking (which is a crude approximation).
But what I really find interesting about this is the size of the surreal numbers. It turns out there's a lot of them.
If you get into the mathematics dealing with infinities, you are familiar with countable vs. uncountable infinity. Consider the numbers 0, 1, 2, 3,.. and so on. The size of that set of numbers is countably infinite.... we can get there just by counting. Interestingly enough, if we do it in two dimensions, the result is the same. If you picture a rectangular grid of points, at every integer x and y, you'd think you have "more" dots than we did in the one dimensional case. It turns out that we don't. It's still countably infinite. The proof of this is via diagonalization, which is an excellent candidate for why mathematicians turn to drinking. It's counterintuitive, but it's true for how we define the size of sets of numbers.
The real numbers, like 1.1, e, and pi, are bigger. It can be shown by Cantor's Diagonal Argument that there's more real numbers. If you tried to assign an integer to every real number, you would actually run out of integers (even though they are infinite). The real numbers are what we call uncountably infinite.
Now usually, at this point, people say "Fine. Mathematicians, have your fun. I'm going to go live my life." But they may remember that there's multiple sizes of infinities.
Well, surreal numbers are actually a larger set than the real numbers. They're bigger than the set of numbers we use to describe all of science.
So here's where that fun little mathematical jaunt went: You may have a numeric "defense" number like 100. Perhaps you thought it could be an integer, or perhaps you were ready for an opponent whose defense number was 99.956. In either case, simply adding the analysis of a game like Go into the mix forces you to use a number system larger than any number system you were taught in school. Even the real numbers with their kooky numbers like pi and the square root of 2 aren't kooky enough to capture a game.