In my experiance most ladies will feel more comfortable with a K Frame size revolver loaded with 38 Specials.
I was at the range a week ago, and got the Plate Rack out for some sporting clays shooters to try out. As I was putting it away, a lady shooter and her husband arrived at the range. She shoots alteast weekly. I asked her if she wanted to try the plate rack. She said she would give it a try. I turned the tractor around and repositioned the rack. She ran it with her Sig 9mm, and also with her CZ75 in 9mm at 10 yards. She was hitting probably a little over 50%. I handed her my 4" HB Model 64 Smith & Wesson to try. She hit 6 for 6 the first time, and 5 for 6 the second.
I have an XDm in 40 s&w and a custom 1911 Colt. My wifes home defense gun is a 4" 686. She could use either semi-automatic as her house gun. She does not like them. Too many things to remember, and she has had problems with my semi's feeding for her. She likes her revolver just fine. I also keep my old Scattergun Tech TR870 behind the bedroom door. She has shot quite a few cases of 12 gage shotgun shells shooting Trap with her 870 Trap Gun. You can take it to the bank, she can shoot the riot gun just fine.
My home defense gun depends on what I was carrying that day. I carry my 64 smith all the time. Some times I carry my 1911, and some times my 638. I also carry my 29 Smith and my 480 SRH at times. What ever I was packing around that day, is what I have on my dresser at night. Normally it is a revolver of some type. If I had some idea that I might need a handgun, I would probably have the XDm with TFO night sights out of the safe.
I shoot a lot, and I am comfortable shooting about anything. If you do not shoot all the time, I still think a revolver is the best choice. A revolver is much more Goof Proof, and Wife Friendly.