Long time geek, fangirl, mother, and reader. I've got a lot to say, you might not like it all, but it will be honest and hopefully helpful.
It's not courageous at all. Women in leading roles are a sure thing, we have been for a while. But thanks for perpetrating the sexist myth that films with female leads are a risky venture that require courage in order to complement yourself, and the producers of your film, at the expense of all these other female driven films.
This is like telling a woman "you're so courageous for leaving the house dressed like that." It's not a compliment.
We don't need a "nice guy" to write a story about us, and then pretend like he is championing our cause while completely ignoring and even tries to erase that we've already been doing this for ourselves long before you ever came along.
Unlike TFIOS, Twilight (1st film) did NOT have known actors (like Laura Dern, Sam Trammel and Willem Dafoe). While Shailene Woodley already has an Golden Globe nomination and the successful Divergent franchise under her belt, by comparison Kristen Stewart was a virtual unknown when she took the starring role in the first Twilight film.
PS When Stephenie Meyer published Twilight she didn't have over 2 million YoutTube subscribers to drive the success of her novel and film adaptation.