Women and Gender in International Development program at Virginia Tech
The Women and Gender in International Development (WGD) program, under the leadership of program director Dr. Maria Elisa Christie, seeks to ensure a gender-sensitive approach to all Office of International Research, Education, and Development projects, and to raise awareness about gender and development issues at Virginia Tech.
- Read our Briefing Sheet on Gender and Poverty Reduction for an executive summary of Virginia Tech's 30-plus-year commitment to taking gender issues into account in global poverty reduction.
- Go to: Maria Elisa Christie's webpage
- Watch "Kenya's Female Farmers," a narrated slideshow produced by The World Bank that clearly presents examples of the challenges women face in agriculture in developing countries.
Announcement: The WGD program is currently seeking a Graduate Research Assistantship to support the IPM CRSP Gender Global Theme. For full information, see the job posting for Graduate Research Assistantships GRA for IPM CRSP Gender Global Theme Support.
What is Gender?
Gender is a social construct that refers to relations between and among the sexes, based on their relative roles. It encompasses the economic, political, and socio-cultural attributes, constraints, and opportunities associated with being male or female. As a social construct, gender varies across cultures, is dynamic and open to change over time. Because of the variation in gender across cultures and over time, gender roles should not be assumed but investigated. Note that "gender" is not interchangeable with "women" or "sex."
WGD Discussion Series, Fall 2012
Gendered Knowledge of Conservation Agriculture Practices in the Philippines
Mary Harman, Graduate Student, Geography
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Office of International Research, Education, and Development (OIRED)
526 Prices Fork Road
Conference Room A, 12:00 to 1:00 pm
This discussion will be a review of fieldwork conducted this past summer in two villages in Claveria, Misamis Oriental, Philippines. Supported by SANREM CRSP, this research-for-development focuses on gendered soil knowledge, access to resources, and agricultural practices that are relevant to conservation agricultural productions systems (CAPS). Both qualitative and quantitative methodologies were conducted including focus group discussions, household interviews, field visits, soil sampling and GIS analysis. The goal is to combine these methods to analyze, visualize, and represent the gendered-based constraints and opportunities that affect the potential adoption of CAPS. Preliminary findings indicate that local soil knowledge is directly linked to crops and grasses; women do not have the same access to resources as men, particularly with land and farm animals; and there is also a gendered division of labor both on and off the farm which may act as a constraint towards CAPS adoption. This research is a novel approach in combing qualitative and geospatial techniques to explore gendered concepts in conservation agriculture and contributes to the Gender Cross-Cutting Research Activity (Gender CCRA) for SANREM CRSP.
The WGD program has sponsored a discussion series for the past several years, giving students and professionals an opportunity to share their research and discuss issues of Women and Gender in International Development. Students, faculty, staff and members of the community are encouraged to attend the discussions and bring their ideas and questions. For the Fall 2012 discussion series schedule, see our WGD Discussion Series Events page.
The Women and Gender in International Development program:
- Provides leadership within the office to ensure that programs are gender-sensitive and have a positive impact on the most disadvantaged beneficiaries, many of whom are women
- Seeks funding for research and development projects focusing on women
- Involves Tech faculty and students in collaborative activities with host country counterparts
The WGD Program now offers internship opportunities through the Women's and Gender Studies Program at Virginia Tech, as well as through the Geography Department. For internships in Women's and Gender Studies, visit VT's Women's & Gender Studies program page. Individuals interested in pursuing internship or independent study opportunities not associated with the Women's and Gender Studies Program may contact the WGD Program Director for more information.
Be sure to explore all the links on this website to find out more about gender and development at Virginia Tech and the research projects with which the WGD Program is involved. The Resources section also provides several links to other WGD programs as well as international organizations working with gender and development, and more.
Selected Stories about our WGD program
Graduate Student Researches Gender Roles in the Bolivian Andes - Keri Agriesti, a Virginia Tech graduate student in geography, is studying the connection men and women who farm in Bolivia have with the soil. Agriesti works under Maria Elisa Christie, program director of Women in International Development. The work is a part of a gender component of the Sustainable Agriculture and Natural Resource Management Collaborative Research Support Program (SANREM CRSP), managed by Virginia Tech. Read more...
Summer Gender Workshop in Ghana to Reach 9,000 Farmers - The West African regional IPM CRSP project held a workshop in Tuobodom, Brong Ahafo Region, Ghana on gender roles and pesticide use in tomato farming, July 19-22, 2011. Facilitated by Maria Elisa Christie, Program Director of Women and Gender in International Development at Virginia Tech and lead researcher in the IPM CRSP Gender Global Theme, the workshop trained senior scientists from the Ghanian Crop Research Institute, agricultural extension agents, a member of Ghana's National Service, and a representative from the Ministry of Agriculture's Women in Agricultural Development program, 24 participants in all. The workshop's content is expected to reach 9,000 farmers in the extension agents' regions. Read more...
University program empowers women through gender workshop in Mali - The West Africa IPM CRSP regional program held a 4-day gender workshop in Mali from June 15-18. The workshop, "Gender, Participatory Research, and Technology Transfer," drew 30 researchers, extension agents, and representatives from institutions in West Africa that partner with the IPM CRSP. Read More...
Peanut CRSP Success Story: Women, Health, and Peanuts in Uganda - Learn how Christie's research in a Ugandan community in 2011 on peanuts and how the harvesting and processing of the crop might be tweaked for better results led to the publication of Farmers Stories from Kamuli.
Farmers' Stories From Kamuli - Women and men farmers from the Namwendwa Sub-County in the Kamuli District of Uganda have long depended on the groundnut (peanut) as a vital source of food and livelihood. It is central to their culture. This book raises awareness of the problems caused by aflatoxins in groundnut and other crops and suggests appropriate post-harvest practices to reduce their impact on health and nutrition. Farmers were asked to trace the path of the groundnut from field to plate. Here they describe their groundnut practices both before and after harvest. In addition to the personal farmer accounts, maps, and drawings, the book includes recipes, providing a rich appreciation of the importance of groundnut in everyday life in this region of the country. To download a printer-friendly copy of the book, use this link: Farmers' Stories From Kamuli (PDF, 3.04 MB).
Central Asia Program Receives Gender Training - Members of the research team of the Central Asia Regional Integrated Pest Management Project attended the workshop "Training the Trainers: Gender and Participatory Methodologies in Agricultural Research," presented by Dr. Maria Elisa Christie on May 14. Participants were asked to consider the two basic questions of gender research: "How does gender affect our projects?" and "How do our projects affect gender?" To read the full story, visit Central Asia Program Receives Gender Training at the IPM CRSP website.
WGD Program Director Dr. Christie visits the University of Texas at Austin - Dr. Maria Elisa Christie recently traveled to Austin, Texas to address a departmental colloquium and explain how peanuts, an important part of the East African diet, can become contaminated with toxins and create a major public health challenge. She also spoke to a packed classroom of freshmen in the Latin American Environmental History and Sustainability course, discussing her trailblazing doctoral research on the spaces of food preparation in central Mexican culture. For more about her visit, read the full story at the News site for University of Texas at Austin's Geography Department (external link).