1) In the daf hayomi for this past shabbos (Brachos 17) the gemara writes that women are promised more reward than men in olam ha'bah for their great bitachon. The gemara asks what is it that women do to earn such great reward, and the gemara answers that the reward is in the merit of their encouraging their husbands and children to learn Torah.
Obviously women earn reward for the mitzvos they keep. The gemara's question of what women do to earn such tremendous schar is raised only because the gemara assumed there must be some way that women have a share in the unique schar of talmud torah as well as their other merits (R' Yonasan Eibshitz).
Be that as it may, the gemara is still difficult. Even if women earn a share of schar talmud torah, asks the Maharal, how is it possible that their reward as enablers of talmud torah is greater than the reward of men, who are doing actual learning?
Let me try to explain the Maharal's answer with an analogy. Imagine two people who win a gift of dinner at an expensive French restaurant. One person is a conneissour of fine food; the other person would be just as happy with a hot dog and fries as a gourmet meal. The same reward is given to both, but the former will have far more appreciation for and enjoyment of the meal than the latter. The same holds true for olam ha'ba, says the Maharal. We men are by disposition "ba'alei tenu'a" -- we like action, not the passive life of olam ha'ba. We don't appreciate our reward to the same degree that women do.
I would like to suggest a different answer, one which my wife independently thought of when I told her the Maharal's question, so it has the stamp of approval from one of the women the gemara is speaking about. Seems to me that when we speak of talmud torah, women get the short end of the stick. They get all the tircha, but none of the reward. When a man goes to a shiur, he is able for a short time to trade the shackles of olam ha'zeh for a taste of the transcendent delight of torah study. What kind of transcendent delight does the guy's wife waiting up for him to come home from the beis medrash get? What kind of trancsendent delight is there in driving this kid to yeshiva at 7:00 and making another run for another carpool round later in the day? L'fum tza'ara agra -- the tircha is so great and there is no enjoyment, so the reward is that much greater in olam ha'ba.
2) Another Maharal on the same daf: The gemara here harshly criticizes someone who learns she'lo lishma, yet the gemara elsewhere tells us that a person should learn she'lo lishma because in that way he/she will eventually come to learn lishma. Tosfos explains that there is no contradiction -- it all depends on what the she'lo lishma motivation is. A person who learns with the she'lo lishma intent of picking fights with others deserves to be criticized; a person who learns with the she'lo lishma motivation of wanting to be called Rav (i.e. for the kavod) does not deserve any criticism. (Tosfos in various masechtos offers slightly different nuances of the same basic answer.)
Maharal rejects Tosfos and writes that the whole question doesn't even get off the ground. Someone who learns she'lo lishma (Maharal does not distinguish between various motivations) certainly deserves the harsh criticism of our sugya. But what's the alternative -- not learning? As bad as learning she'lo lishma is, as harsh as the criticism of she'lo lishma is, it still is better than not opening a gemara at all! Better to learn she'lo lishma in the hopes of ultimately reaching the level of lishma than to not learn at all.