This book argues that the position of women in late medieval and early modern Europe was relatively strong. This, van Zanden, De Moor, and Carmichael argue, is evident from the fact that marriage was usually based on consensus, implying that women had a clear say in their marriage. The authors analyze the medieval roots of this European Marriage Pattern, demonstrating that it was much stronger in northwestern Europe than in the Mediterranean. That women had considerable agency was one of the factors behind the rise of Europe in the centuries before the Industrial Revolution. This had huge consequences for the average age of marriage (which was very high), fertility (which was restricted by the high age of marriage), human capital formation (resulting in high levels of numeracy and literacy), and labor-force participation by women. However, the authors also explore the negative effects of the European Marriage Pattern, such as the greater vulnerability of these relatively small families, and the large group of single women, subject to external shocks particularly in old age. Special institutions emerged, such as the beguinages, to cope with these pressures. Finally, by comparing these European households with household patterns in the rest of Eurasia, this book puts the European Marriage Pattern into global perspective.