You are asking two related but different questions. One about touching the Torah, one about reading it.
Regarding touching a sefer Torah there is an explicit Rambam (Laws of Sefer Torah 10:8 based on Berakhot 22a) which explicitly mentions niddot (i.e., women)
Any impure person, even [a woman in] a niddah state or a gentile, may
hold a Torah scroll and read it.
SA YD 282:9 rules the same (for a resolution of the contradiction with the Rema on SA OH 88:1, see R Avraham Weiss here).
Some poskim disagree based on minhag, e.g., here but see the end of R Weiss article showing many Acharonim who write this minhag has no basis.
This has relevance in the context of kissing the Torah on Simhat Torah and dancing with a sefer Torah in women-only areas.
Regarding reading a sefer Torah, especially in the context of women's prayer services, there are multiple issues and it is nearly impossible to separate halachic from what you call "political issues".
A large amount of gedolei Israel have written against women's prayer groups when they include a full prayer service. Some poskim (incl. R Shlomo Goren, R Avraham Elkana Shapiro, R Moshe Feinstein) are more inclined to allow women's reading of a sefer Torah (without public blessings before/after) in certain circumstances (e.g., "pious women whose considerations are solely for the sake of Heaven and are without questioning of God's Torah and Jewish custom").
I can only refer to you to an in-depth magnificent survey of sources by R Aryeh Frimer and R Dov Frimer in Tradition which concludes that the issue is much more one of public policy than one of halacha.
I have often heard that, even if allowed halachically, one should not advance an agenda of equivalency between men and women (which is not the Torah's perspective). So as always CYLOR for practical applications of the above.