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Do I know you from somewhere?
Maybe a year ago, I noticed that more women that I didn't know would come up to me and say something like, "Do I know you from somewhere?" Me, being me, would take a good look at her and mentally think, "No. I've never seen you in my life." It wasn't until after many such incidents that I eventually heard that this was a woman's way of introducing herself to a guy she wanted to meet. My friend Kate describes this as the only pick-up line that women know. 
I think the social dynamic for a woman who wants to meet a guy is really fascinating. Broadly speaking, men make the approach and women wait for the approach (or more typically, evaluate the approach). Of course, women have lots of ways to discretely express their interest (i.e. convey "I want you to come talk to me.")
1. Eye Contact
Not a bad way to go, but let's face it, most guys are too shy to approach a woman based purely on a look.
2. Smile / Repeated Eye Contact
A little less risky from the guy's perspective. Of course, most guys I know would assume that she's looking at some guy that's merely near where he is rather than he himself.
2a. Some of the above + a woman playing with her hair, licking her lips, touching her neck, etc.
3. Proximity
She'll simply maneuver herself so that she's near you (and typically in your line of sight). This does all sorts of things including making sure that you actually see / notice her and also makes it logistically less awkward for you to go and talk to her.
4. The Bump
This is my favorite because it's one of those that I've been extremely clueless about in the past. I don't believe a woman accidentally touches another person, let alone a man. So when she literally bumps you, I mean, come on -- it's almost rude not to begin a conversation! I've also noticed that if I'm in conversation with another woman at the time, the new woman will more aggressively bump me (almost like a body check).
5. Do I know you from somewhere?
When all else fails, she's forced to actually initiate the conversation. Hey - at least you're talking now right?
6. Some sort of compliment
My shirt, shoes, tie -- doesn't matter. I think what's really interesting is I'm a total sucker for it. I dive head first into the conversation. I can see why women would find someone complimenting something of theirs quite appealing.
7. "Can we just make out with you?"
I'm completely serious when I say that once two girls sat down next to me in a theater and said this to me. I wasn't even waiting for the start of a movie -- it was for a panel on the film "Up in the Air". 
Obviously on the scale of more likely to less likely to happen, this goes in descending order (with 1-3 disproportionately more likely to happen than 5-7).
Presumably, a woman can't be direct with people she'd like to meet (save non-famous people) because of social norms. I think that's part of it -- certainly it's probably a little unseemly for women to be that direct. I think it's also logical though too. My female friends typically state this as the, "Guys like to chase." argument. If a girl makes herself too available -- regardless of how attractive she is -- she diminishes her value so much that the guy is no longer interested. (One exception to this is with shy, awkward, but otherwise attractive guys -- could be physically attractive or just a good person. I've noticed a certain type of woman will aggressively introduce themselves to these guys and the two of them will be in a relationship in what seems to be immediately.)
So in that respect, it makes sense. Or think of it like game theory. The further down the chart the woman goes -- the less likely she'll get the guy. So she has to start at the beginning (eye contact) and hope the guy takes the bait (or has the balls to go and talk to her.) Every step that puts herself out there more, perhaps subconsciously she realizes that she's slightly less likely to get the guy. (or perhaps the guy's value diminishes in her mind either because he's not interested in her or he's still too shy to introduce himself to her.)
I suspect though, that ultimately, a lot of this has to do with awkwardness minimization. Women don't like awkwardness and things have the potential to get more awkward the further you go down the scale. For example, one time I was out with a group of people -- the 5 of us were sitting almost in a circle on couches -- and a woman walked up and complimented one of the guys on his glasses. (Keep in mind that she's standing and we're all sitting -- even more gutsy.) His response, "Thanks." She tried to continue the conversation but he was basically non-responsive. Awkward. (I should note that the guy, to be blunt, was an arrogant asshole.) But that's the risk a woman runs by being that direct -- that she'll get that type of response -- so whether it's by conditioning or intrinsically part of her, she's simply less likely to put herself out there. But that's not really her job is it?