This week, I've received a few questions from my lovely girl friend, and will be answering them. I had hoped to continue this column into the school year, which starts this week for me, but may not be able to do so regularly. I hope that will not be the case, but will have to play things by ear. If you want to help make that possible, send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, and give me the motivation and material I need to keep this thing rolling.
Also, as a side note, I apologise for the lack of plentiful links, but I am using hotel internet which is frankly terrible.
Ariel C. asks:
"I know the Emperor hates aliens, but what of women? Are there any prominent women in the Empire? Or what of the sub-ranks? Are there female stormtroopers, moffs, etc.?"
The Emperor is specifically mentioned as having an anti-non-huMan policy in the expanded universe. Women had just as rough a deal as non-humans did under his regime. Notable are the few females who were able to rise through the ranks nonetheless, such as Admiral Daala.
After the Emperor's death, women did begin making more headway into the Imperial hierarchy, with there being several female moffs in the Imperial Remnant.
I have never heard of any female stormtroopers, and don't believe there were any. Also, as a note, moffs aren't a "sub-rank", they're very high ranking, actually, controlling the governors of multiple systems.
"Are there any instances of cross-species relationships in SW?"
Yes. There are a few, though the first one that springs to mind is Gavin Darklighter, human male and cousin to Biggs, and Asyr Sei'lar, a Bothan female. Comically, Gavin actually had a slight allergy to Bothan fur, causing him a full body rash at one point that was as embarrassing for him as it was uncomfortable.
Though the two were happy together, they did receive outside pressure to break up, particularly on Asyr's side, as Borsk Fey'lya, a Bothan senator with much influence, opposed the relationship.
"Are there other characters like Mara Jade?"
Short answer: not really. Longer answer: it depends on how like "like" is. If being a woman who can be bad-ass and take charge is the extent of the similarities you're looking for, most female characters in SW could be considered comparable.
I think the most similar character would probably be Jaina Solo, if only because she's a woman who knows how to bring down the house--and the surrounding city block if need be.
Mara Jade is a very distinct character, and I don't think anyone has written any analogs for her if only because doing so would be kind of obvious.
That being said, there are other characters with clear analogs, such as Dash Rendar, who is essentially Han Solo but not so they could be in two places at the same time. To be fair though, that character was given new life in Star Wars: Shadow Games.