Assistant Professor of Social Welfare Leyla Karimli and MPP student Emily Marshall co-authored a Medium op-ed about the complicated relationship between economic empowerment and female agency. While “economic empowerment, village savings, loans associations and poverty alleviation programs are essential to improving the lives of women around the world,” they do not necessarily result in improved agency and power, the authors wrote. Even when women earn the same or more than their partner, women disproportionately leave the workforce to care for children and relatives. “There are cultural and social norms at play and gender constraints that are typically embedded in larger patriarchal structures,” they explained. Karimli’s research shows that economic strengthening is more effective when coupled with family coaching to address gender norms. “We need to shift social norms, cultural expectations and attitudes by working with men as well as women,” wrote the authors, who are affiliated with the Global Lab for Research in Action at UCLA Luskin.