As Gunsite Instructor Il Ling pointed out during the ladies class at Gunsite, there are a number of ways for ladies to carry guns but most of the traditional methods impact wardrobe. Il Ling demonstrated her favorite method which would work for a man or woman (more on that later) but she also worked with the ladies on drawing from Galco Holster Handbags. Galco offers a variety of holster handbags and my wife, Drema, even advised me that several of them got a fashion thumbs up from her.
Just as important as carrying a handgun might be carrying a light. People predators operate in the dark because they are harder to see. (this is just like predators in the wild) Light more than evens the playing field and especially a tactical light. (A tactical light is relatively compact, easy to activate and deactivate while shooting and produces in excess of 60 lumens.)
As Ed Head at Gunsite likes to say, distance equals time and a tactical light shined in the eye of an attacker gives you an opportunity to increase your distance because it momentarily blinds the bad guy, giving you more time and more options. (Trust me, 100 lumens in your eye at 15 yards will give you a purple spot in your vision that lasts for several minutes.)
Everyone in the class received a Surefire E1B Backup. This little single battery light produces over 100 lumens and is only 4 inches long. The low power setting is 5 lumens. It has a two way clip and is small and light enough to carry in a pocket. Its also a tactical tool that you can take anywhere, even airplanes and bars.