I want to share with you a conversation that I have had many times. Some guy at work will ask me about my weekend and what I did. I'll say something like, "Oh it was fun. My husband and I did this great day hike in Rocky Mountain National Park". Then the guy proceeds to tell me that it's so great that I hike and he wishes his wife/girfriend would hike with him too.
I guess I'm writing this because I wish women had more of a presence in the hiking world. There are many women hikers, but I would like to see more. The best reason that I can come up with as to why women don't hike (besides just not wanting to, which is fine) is the fear of the unknown. We don't exactly know what you do on a hike, how hard it is, where you go to the bathroom and what to bring.
My best suggestion to you is to start off slow. Pick some smaller and easier hikes to get started. The hikes in the Easy Hikes section of this website are good ones to start off with. If you don't live in the Rockies, then you can always start in the county or state parks. Begin with short hikes that are on well marked trails.
Basically, you just hike during a hike. You walk for a few miles up the trail, look at some cool stuff, then you turn around and go back. After I finish a hike, I always have a great sense of accomplishment, espcecially if the hike was a hard one. A hike is as hard as you want it to be. Read trail descriptions and choose something that you feel comfortable with. The popular trailheads usually have toilets or latrines. I can't include an entire list of what you need to bring. My suggestion to you is to consult with other hikers and use your common sense. If you start off on the easy stuff then the harder hikes won't seem so impossible.
If you have one bad experience, don't assume that all your experiences will be just as bad. I have a lot of people tell me, "Oh I went hiking one time and it rained and rained. We had an awful time!". Then, that person never goes hiking again. You are going to have some bad trips, and you are going to have some good ones. My last piece of advice, if you go with someone that is faster than you, that's okay. Your partner will just have to slow their pace down to match yours. It's easier for your hiking partner to slow down for you then for you to speed up for your partner. You can't overexhert yourself on the trail, or you'll be doubled over having an asthma attack in no time. Trust me, I've learned this from experience.
Well, I hope this article has convinced one or two of you to try hiking. If it's not for you, that's fine. Just remember, the next time someone asks you what you did this weekend, you can say, "I did this really great dayhike in the woods!".