Whatever problems exist for the "men's" world championship, their cycle is at least reasonably clear and logical compared to the convolutions FIDE has generated for the women's world title. Sometimes the champion is determined by a knockout event, other times in a match between the defending titleholder and the winner of the Grand Prix cycle - or in case the champion is also the Grand Prix winner, the champ plays the Grand Prix runner-up.
Right now Hou Yifan is the women's world champion and, with the retirement of Judit Polgar the top-rated woman in the world by a pretty hefty margin. But for how long? There's a knockout event allegedly going to take place in October, and while Hou has done well in most of the KO events she had a bad day in the last one and was eliminated early. (That event was eventually won by someone who couldn't mate with a bishop and a knight.)
She (Hou) won the Grand Prix, however, and demolished the KO winner (Anna Ushenina) in a match, which brings us where we are today. The current Grand Prix cycle has one tournament left, in Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates. Humpy Koneru has a slight lead over Hou Yifan in the overall standings, but as long as Hou finishes a single place ahead of her rival in Sharjah she will leapfrog her into first place. (As Hou won her first game while Humpy lost hers, she's off to a good start.)
So here's what all of this means. If the KO takes place and neither Hou Yifan nor Humpy Koneru wins, then the winner of the KO will play whichever of the two women wins the Grand Prix. If one of them does win the KO, then the other woman will face her in a match, regardless of which one wins the Grand Prix.