First of all, I think we can all agree that the world is not color-blind nor gender-neutral. You will be faced with some adversity because of your gender. You will have some advantages because of your gender as well.
Here is where things stand currently - if you look at the Director’s Guild Nominations for Outstanding Directorial Achievement (Best Director) you’ll notice that the nominees are conspicuously similar year-after-year: white males. This year is no different. 20% of the nominees are women in spite of the fact that women make up 50% of the general population. This is not because women are somehow genetically inferior filmmakers. It is because of the decades-long racist and sexist attitudes that have polluted the history of Hollywood and unfortunately remain status-quo, evidenced by industry behavior and the films they create.
In my personal experience, I have seen women have difficulty commanding the same respect as men. Only in rare cases have I seen a female leader put herself in a position to fail - most disregard for female leadership comes from others being unconsciously bigoted.
The good news is that things are improving thanks to trailblazing women like Barbara Loden. You can follow in their footsteps, surround yourself with great people, find your audience, and at the end of the day you can have a great career regardless of your gender. Don’t let the occasional meat-head deter you. Although you can’t change your family, you can decide who you spend the majority of your time with outside of that. Find encouraging and brilliant friends and you’ll be fine.
p.s. 2012 was a great year for female directors. Some of the most critically-acclaimed films were made by women: Brooklyn Castle directed by Katie Dellamaggiore, Leviathan directed by Véréna Paravel, Wuthering Heights directed by Andrea Arnold, and, of course, Zero Dark Thirty directed by Kathryn Bigelow.