Well guys small revolvers are not the best choice at all, lots of people seam to think they are, but they are truly a "masters weapon" when employed in a defensive situation under stress.
My wife carry's every day a G19 gen3 in her purse, I made her this holster for the pistol. Do not expect a woman to carry on her body, its impractical with today's clothing styles in the summer months for most.
Pistols I would consider are G19, G26, walther PPS, ruger lcp, don't get pulled into the "gun shop talk". With today's modern bullets even the little 380 acp is quite effective and should be considered.
Lastly while I will advocate for everyone to carry until the day I die, make sure you get your loved ones proper training from reputable instructors with long and established track records.