It is thought that the couple are already married because of the woman's headdress. A non-married woman would have her hair down, according to Margaret Carroll.  The placement of the two figures suggests conventional 15th century views of marriage and gender roles – the woman stands near the bed and well into the room, symbolic of her role as the caretaker of the house, whereas Giovanni stands near the open window, symbolic of his role in the outside world. Arnolfini looks directly out at the viewer, his wife gazes obediently at her husband. His hand is vertically raised, representing his commanding position of authority, whilst she has her hand in a lower, horizontal, more submissive pose. However, her gaze at her husband can also show her equality to him because she is not looking down at the floor as lower class women would. They are part of the Burgundian court life and in that system she is his equal, not his subordinate.