This passage has created quite a few problems over the years. There are women who feel really oppressed by it. Others feel this truly describes the perfect woman and try to get women (and girls) to live up to it. I encountered these various attitudes in a discussion group yesterday.
My strong suggestion is to read this more as satire. The author is pointing out how much of the actual work that goes on is taken care of by the women, especially the wives of the powerful, while the men hang out at the city gate, which was where the politics goes on. Then, as now, a person of means was in a much better position to work the political circuit because you needed to be there when things happened. The husband of the woman described here was in a good position to be politically powerful. He looked terribly wise, but who was actually doing the work?
One of my pastors, Geoffrey Lentz, suggested that this passage is intended to tie in with lady wisdom introduced early in the book. (He didn’t claim this as original, but he’s my footnote!) Thus the “woman of power” is, in some sense, God. I tend to agree with him on this, though only as the intention of the redactor, and as a canonical read of the text.
By the nature of Proverbs, as well as the indications in the text itself, this is a separate piece of the collection. In other words, we have no context for the words as they were originally presented. They might well have been an independent poem. In fact, I would suspect they were. But why include them in Proverbs, and specifically as the last portion? I think that positioning tends to support the idea that this is Lady Wisdom in some sense.
However you do it, make sure not to make this passage a club to beat other people with. Women have enough expectations placed on them.
I do recall my mother bringing this up at our wedding. We had arranged for a multigenerational blessing. My mother would say a few words, then our children would do so. I know Jody got tense when my mother read a portion of this passage. But then she turned it around. Her point was that a man needs to earn the Proverbs 31 woman. What sort of a man can deserve this woman? Good question, I think!