I think most of the better female fantasy writers are in YA. In epic fantasy I've only enjoyed Bujold and Rachel Aaron. In YA, I like Rowling, Cashore,
This is absolutely the point. Outlawing the damsel is, sadly, not a solution, it's a misreading of the problem.
I second Eli Monpress, a very enjoyable series of books.
Would she be the same author that wrote The White Dragon and whatever its sequel was? I enjoyed those two, but I've never seen any of her other books
I am going to add one to this list, the Eli Monpress series by Rachael Aaron. Hits all your checkpoints, and got better with each book. Plus, the five