From a different perspective, compassion offers the mind something to chew on in confrontational and challenging situations that isn't offered by simply meeting a challenge with resistance or avoiding a confrontation. Compassion allows the person to understand the ROOT of the issue(s), and therefore can make a better informed decision about how (or if) to respond to the situation.
So, to build on your suggestion, let's assume that his daughter does indeed continue in the "geeky arts and sciences" and let's assume that she does face all of the challenges and opposition she's going to get from her mostly male classmates/peers. She could adopt the "cast iron bitch" attitude or just power her way through, ignoring it as best she can, and she'll probably make it through just fine. On the other hand, if she looks at these situations with compassion, she gets to fully understand it. She can realize why each of those peers treats her that way, and come to understand that it's likely born out of jealousy, or fear, or lack of understanding, or any other number of things that could explain why these people are treating her poorly. The significance of this, of course, is now that she fully understands how and why these things are happening, she can a) fully drop any personal apprehension she might have about things she might be doing to create it and b) be better informed and able to look for these behavior patterns in the future. With each encounter, she can further refine her understanding of her environment and her dealings with her fellow humans, and she can therefore refine how she responds to each.
Compassion does not mean "turning the other cheek", and incidentally, your "religious" quote about the "meek inheriting the earth" is christian, not universally religious......a lot of us think that's a bunch of crap (me included).