WGD Conference 2019 - Out of the theory & into the field 

Perspectives on gender in international development from renowned experts

conference overview

In this two day conference, keynote speakers, panelists, shift & share presenters, and workshop facilitators will address gender equality, empowerment, and intersectionality; agriculture, health, and nutrition; One Health, and access to resources such as land, water, credit and technology.

This is also an opportunity for faculty, students, and practitioners to highlight their own work but also benefit from the collective knowledge and experience of others working in gender and international development. 

This conference will be particularly beneficial to students and faculty preparing for field work or considering future opportunities in development, but all who are interested are welcome to register and attend.

This is an InclusiveVT initiative of Outreach and International Affairs at Virginia Tech

keynote speakers

The two keynote sessions will last one hour and ten minutes each and will include approximately thirty minutes for discussion and Q&A.

Dr. Carmen Diana Deere

Distinguished Professor Emerita of Latin American Studies and Food & Resource Economics, University of Florida

Our first keynote, Dr. Carmen Diana Deere, will present on the gender equality agenda of the Sustainable Development Goals and the associated research challenges in the intersection of understanding land distribution.

Dr. Agnes Quisumbing

Senior Research Fellow, Food Consumption and Nutrition Division, International Food Policy Research Institute

On the second day, our keynote is Dr. Agnes Quisumbing from the International Food Policy Research Institute. She is the co-developer of the WEAI and co-editor of Gender in agriculture and food security: Closing the knowledge gap. She will consider how paying attention to gender, equity, and empowerment issues can enable agricultural research to be more effective in achieving better nutritional outcomes.


Three panels each consist of three 20-minute presentations and 35 minutes for discussion and Q&A. In another interactive panel over lunch, several conference presenters will share their personal journeys and career paths and answer questions from attendees.

Power, Positionality, & Intersectionality - Day 1

Dr. Caroline Faria, Assistant Professor, Department of Geography and the Environment, The University of Texas at Austin

Jane Kato-Wallace, Director of Programs, Promundo

Dr. Emily Van Houweling, Associate Professor, Masters in Development Practice Program, Regis University

Gender & Nutrition-Responsive Agriculture - Day 2

Dr. Deborah Rubin, Co-director, Cultural Practice LLC

Dr. Beth Miller, Instructor of Biology, University of Arkansas, PTC, Agricultural consultant and President of the International Goat Association

Dr. Cornelia Flora, Curtiss Distinguished Sociology Professor Emeritus, Iowa State University

Personal Journeys and Career Paths - Q&A with Lunch, Day 2

Access: Markets, Education, and the Gendering of Environmental Systems - Day 2

Dr. Elizabeth Jimenez, Development Economist, Professor at CIDES UMSA, Graduate School in Interdisciplinary Social Sciences of the Universidad Mayor de San Andres, Bolivia

Dr. Luke Juran, Associate Professor, Department of Geography, Virginia Water Resources Research Center, College of Natural Resources and Environment, Virginia Tech

Ms. Nadima Sahar, Head of Technical & Vocational Education and Training Authority, Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

Shift and Share: lessons from the Field

In Shift & Share: Lessons from the Field, presenters will give 5-minute presentations or demonstrations of their research or project, followed by 8 minutes for questions and interaction. The four sessions will be simultaneous and repeated four times so that attendees can move from one to the next and visit all of them in the allotted time.

Mung Beans in Senegal: A Nutritious Crop for Women?

Dr. Ozzie Abaye, Professor, School of Plant & Environmental Sciences, Virginia Tech

Developing the Potential of Girls & Boys: Gender Issues in Positive Youth Development programs in Senegal

Bineta Guisse, National Director, Youth in Agriculture, Virginia Tech in Senegal

Digital Media, Literacy and Design for Empowerment of Rural Women in India

Dr. Askshay Sharma, Associate Professor Industrial Design Program, Chair of ISDA Design, Virginia Tech

When Technology Meets Culture: Learning to Listen to Community Voices While Designing “Baby Pods” to Keep Infants Warm in Malawi

Ashley Taylor, Director, Pathways for Future Engineers, Center for Enhancement of Engineering Diversity, PhD Candidate, Department of Engineering Education, College of Engineering, Virginia Tech


The three concurrent workshops last 90 minutes each. Each will have a slightly different dynamic. In the feminist participatory research methods and the Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning workshops the facilitators will present current knowledge and practices on the topic and guide participants through hands-on exercises. The third workshop is a conversation on sexual harassment and other challenges in the field including anyone who wants to share experiences and strategies or just listen to the group; it will be co-led by a person with extensive experience working with survivors of sexual assault and harassment in the U.S. and a person with extensive experience being a woman carrying out fieldwork internationally.

Community Engagement in Feminist Participatory Research Methods

Dr. Ann Oberhauser, Professor of Sociology, Director of Women’s and Gender Studies, Iowa State University

Gender Equality in Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning

Dr. Jennifer Himmelstein, Corporate Analyst, ACDI/VOCA

Daniel Sumner, Assistant Director, Women & Gender in International Development, CIRED, Virginia Tech

Being in the Field: A Conversation on Discrimination, Sexual Harassment and Other Challenges

Caitlin Nordehn, Technical Associate, Cultural Practice, LLC

Christine Dennis Smith, Co-director, Women’s Center, Virginia Tech

Closing address

Dr. Krista Jacobs

Senior Gender Advisor, USAID/Bureau for Food Security

The closing address will be given by Dr. Krista Jacobs, providing the donor perspective on gender in food security programs and the take away for moving toward more inclusive systems