Agency for Continental Women is a collection of essays that explore the complex ways that women and young girls meet german girl construct all their lives across Europe. It employs a range of methodological solutions and new archival material to investigate the interplay between gender, society and the ways that girls manage their daily experiences. The chapters in this volume look at women’s encounters from various cultural, societal and financial perspectives: as mothers and wives; as philanthropists; as writers and artists; and as activists. Despite the vastly different source materials, some key themes unite the contributions as a whole. One is the centrality of a notion of female agency. The authors employ micro-studies of individual cases to reveal how women, despite their legal disabilities because of their gender, could assert considerable agency in the pursuit of their interests.

The articles in this amount emphasize the significance of taking sex into account when describing the earlier integration processes in Europe. Maria Pia Di Nonno, for instance, looks at how the girls in Malta’s Common Assembly and the predecessor to the European Parliament actively influenced the integration of Europe. In Bernard Capp’s book on Agnes Beaumont, the subject herself wrote a language to demonstrate how disobeying her father was an act of firm in and of itself.

A final contribution discusses how status socialist women’s organizations in Eastern Europe served as both agents on behalf of women and, simultaneously, prevented their agency. A closer examination of the structures and political contexts in which these recognized organizations operated reveals a more nuanced image, and the artist challenges revisionist female researchers’ assertions that they were “agents on behalf of women.”