During the later middle ages the position of women in society improved somewhat. This was the result of the general advances in society that increased social mobility and economic well being. Women's freedom was severely limited by her legal status. Woman were effectively the property of their fathers, or the their husbands. Only widows had any significant legal rights. Girls were married off young. The average age of marriage slowly increased during this period. During this period women actively engaged in trade. They also worked in a number of professions. Despite the limit legal rigths that most women held, noble women often were powerful in their own rights, managing large estates and controling significant sums of money.