I agree with Elmer, re the huge improvement in ammo in the last couple of years. The manufacturers have been paying attention. Hornady's Critical Defense .22WMR lists ballistics on the box, for both 24" barrels and 1 7/8" barrels. The latter is what my wife has in a Smith snub. Fired it last week with this ammo and flame was not nearly as "long" so to speak, as a .30 Carbine out of a 7 1/2" Ruger.
What I thought was most interesting is that out of the barrel there is a huge difference in velocity (1700 vs 1000), but at 200 yds the numbers were 980 vs 868. Now of course no one except Bob Munden one is going to try to hit anything at 200 yds. with a snub-nose, but what I thought interesting was that the short barrel energy must be very decent relative to rifle-length energy to be able to close the gap like that.
This and Elmer's Gold Dots are the only two SD loads I would use right now, but it is likely other makers like Federal will try to compete. As it is, their 50gr. Game-Shok is not half-bad IMO.
My wife is a lot like yours - she won't even shoot a .32 Long. But she loves the .22WMR. A minor plus relative to SD is that the little magnum is loud out of a short barrel and that can help in getting attention from a distance and in disorienting an attacker.
Extra note - the Critical Defense feeds flawlessly in my PMR-30 and weighs next to nothing.