The experiences of women during the colonial era varied greatly. In New England, Puritan women tended to be subordinate to their husbands and dedicated to rearing God-fearing children. In the early Chesapeake colonies, very few women were present. Much of the population consisted of young, single, white indentured servants. Lacking male protectors, women, especially teenage girls, often were vulnerable to exploitation and abuse. On the other hand, young women had more freedom to choose spouses.