Virginia Tech’s Women and Gender in International Development will host a two-day interactive gender conference on research, policy, and lessons from the field.

“We don’t know of any other conference that brings together researchers and practitioners to focus on gender and international development and aims specifically to educate students,” said Maria Elisa Christie, director of the Women and Gender team. “We will look at issues both through a theoretical and applied research lens.”

The conference supports the InclusiveVT mission of promoting community, diversity, and excellence, Christie said. 

Guru Ghosh, vice president for Outreach and International Affairs, said, “Even though globally women undertake the vast majority of the world’s work, often uncredited, it takes time for societies to accept women in new roles.”

The conference is vital because “every step forward in improving the economic status of women results in enriched family interactions, higher incomes, and transformed communities. The import of this work does no less than elevate the status of women and ensure that women are acknowledged and valued,” he said.

The conference, which starts Feb. 28 at the Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center, will include panels, workshops, and breakout sessions on such topics as discrimination in the field and the ties between gender, crops, and animals. A session will be dedicated to students interested in careers in development.

The conference title is “Women and Gender in Development: Out of the Theory and Into the Field” and will include practitioners not only sharing critical theory and approaches to gender, development, and empowerment, but also how to actually perform development research.

“We share this world,” Christie said. “This conference is a testament to Virginia Tech’s motto Ut Prosim (That I May Serve) and a perfect opportunity to look at diversity, equity, and inclusivity. We have the space, resources, and experts to lead the conversation.”

The conference’s 20 speakers include Krista Jacobs, senior gender advisor for the Bureau for Food Security; Agnes Quisumbing, senior research fellow for the International Food Policy Research Institute; Ozzie Abaye, professor in the School of Plant and Environmental Sciences at Virginia Tech; and Luke Juran, assistant professor in the Department of Geography at Virginia Tech. Development experts from Bolivia and Senegal will also present.

Early registration is available now at the conference website; deadline is Jan. 21. Women and Gender in International Development is housed at the Center for International Research, Education, and Development, part of Outreach and International Affairs. 

Written by Sara Hendery

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