My answer is, YES, short or petite women CAN wear maxi skirts and dresses. Actress Rachel Bilson is a prime example, as she is 5'2" and wears maxi skirts/dresses often. You can see some examples here, here, and here.
If you're on the shorter side, try checking for maxi dresses in the petite section. You might also have luck with a midi skirt, which on a petite person might be a bit more maxi in length. Also don't forget a good tailor is worth their weight in gold, so if you find a maxi skirt or dress that you love - they can always shorten it for you. One tip: I would avoid large prints, and stick to solids or smaller prints so as not to overwhelm your tiny frame. Here are a few that I found online, click on any image for more information.