I believe it's a combination of things. Some traditions are hard to let go of. One of the reasons why is the "fairytale" has not died.
The prince or knight in shining armor who sweeps the damsel in distress off of her feet continues to be read to little girls even to this day. Earlier this year Disney released the movie "Cinderella" and thus far it has grossed over $527M worldwide.
I've known strong financially independent women who have lingered in long-term relationships (waiting) years for their man to propose to them.They reject the notion of ever proposing to their man!
Clearly if someone has been in a relationship for 3-5 years and wants to get married they shouldn't be afraid to propose. At the end of the day if you get married it shouldn't matter who proposed to whom!
Women are also reluctant to ask men out on dates or ask them to dance in nightclubs. Some women worry about what the men might think and others who refuse to admit it are terrified of being rejected. And still others have convince themselves that power resides with the person who is (reactive) rather the person who is (proactive).
Anyone who is determined to (wait on others) to (choose them) is truly not sitting in the seat of power.
If a woman splits the check on a date she thinks of herself as being independent but if she picks up the whole tab as men often do she feels used and will tell her girlfriends all about that date for years.
If a man jumps through hoops to win a woman's heart it's seen as "romantic" but if a woman jumps through hoops to win a man's heart other women consider her to be a fool, desperate, easy, or weak.
There is also the belief that a man will not "respect" any woman who pursues him. He'll simply take advantage of her and toss her away.
In addition there is still the belief that if (two consenting adults) have sex and never see one another again somehow it's the (woman) who was used. You seldom if ever hear of man who states this about a one night stand:
"After she got what she wanted she dumped me!"
As long as some women hold onto a victim mentality when it comes to (consensual sex) they will never feel equal to men in this area.
Last but not least given the opportunity to treated as "special" or "equal" most people would prefer to be treated as "special".
Most people would rather be wooed and pursued than have to chase after anyone for anything. And many women convince themselves that men love the chase. The reality is men hate rejection just as much as women!
One man's opinion!:)