"All the Single Ladies"

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Mary Tyler Moore, Carrie Bradshaw and Hannah Horvath are all members of the single lady TV aristocracy. And each character has helped shape the narrative of the single woman in modern America. The message is clear: “You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby,” to borrow a slogan from Virginia Slims. Outside of the small screen, the story is more complicated. For most of history, the single life wasn’t much of a life at all. There were very few jobs for single women. Society was suspicious of the unattached female. Getting married was pretty much the only choice for a majority of women. But as economic opportunities for women increase, more are opting out of marriage or waiting much later to tie the knot. We look at the trend.