For most women alone, finding the power to control their own lives won’t come from shaking their fists. Nor will it come from wishful dreams of being elected to the state legislature and putting together a coalition to change, say, discriminatory employment laws. They need instead to change their relationship to society, to recognize the options singleness can provide, to set out to change what they can change– be it where they live, who they know, or or how they equip themselves for work. There are some women who are exerting power over their lives, and yet they don’t see it in terms of exerting power– again, because of this very alien word. These women are more likely to describe what they are doing in terms of how they feel. “There is something inside you that is nudging you, and then you look back on it and realize it has become a pattern,” said a divorced woman with two children.
–Patricia O’Brien, The Woman Alone, p. 190