Women and Gender in International Development

Center for International Research, Education, and Development (CIRED), Virginia Tech

WGD’s mission is to work towards gender equality in development by promoting gender sensitivity in every CIRED project and ensuring that women benefit. Development is achieved most effectively when it is inclusive, equitable, and based on the priorities of local groups. As a learning community and academic resource, WGD seeks to build capacity to address gender disparities in the areas of agriculture, natural resource management, education, food security, health and nutrition, and water. WGD works collaboratively with Virginia Tech faculty and students, partner organizations around the world and other stakeholders, conducting interdisciplinary research on gender issues to increase opportunities for women while achieving the technical goals of our projects.

WGD & conference Team

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Dr. Maria Elisa Christie

Conference Coordinator

Dr. Maria Elisa Christie is the Director of Women and Gender in International Development (WGD), housed at the Center for International Research, Education, and Development (CIRED) at Virginia Tech. She has more than 25 years of experience in international development. Throughout her career, she has worked with a variety of development, research, and non-governmental agencies around the developing world, along with local, state, and federal governments in the United States and Mexico. Christie has played a key role in launching new projects that support international collaboration. Christie’s research includes a focus on gendered space and everyday life, gender in agriculture, and participatory research methods. She has published a book, Kitchenspace: Women, Fiestas, and Everyday Life in Central Mexico, with the University of Texas Press. She has gender and development articles in the Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography; Agriculture and Human Values; Development in Practice; GeoJournal; Gender, Technology and Development, Gender and Education; and the International Journal of Sociology and Anthropology.

As the Director for WGD, Christie’s primary role is to provide leadership within CIRED to ensure that all projects and programs are gender-sensitive and will have a positive effect on the most disadvantaged beneficiaries, many of whom are women. She has developed and facilitated workshops on gender and participatory research in the United States and in French-, Spanish-, and English-speaking countries.


Daniel Sumner

Poster Session & Logistics Coordinator

Daniel Sumner is the Assistant Director for Women and Gender in International Development at Virginia Tech where he provides research and analytical support to the Center for International Research, Education, and Development’s (CIRED) sponsored programs, including the Integrated Pest Management Innovation Lab (IPM IL). Mr. Sumner provides gender expertise to the IPM Innovation Lab, documenting the gendered impacts of the IPM IL’s research activities. He also works with the IPM IL’s implementing partners to build their capacity to address gender disparities and conduct gender-informed research focused on the intersection between IPM, gender, sustainable development, and rural livelihoods. Before joining the WGD program, Sumner worked in ACDI/VOCA’s Monitoring & Evaluation unit where he contributed to the development of the GenderFirst Monitoring & Evaluation Framework, updating the organization’s approach to ensuring the gendered impacts of program interventions. He also has experience applying the theory and practice of geospatial analysis to the design and evaluation of development interventions.


Communications & Logistics Coordinator

Sofía Rincón Gallardo Patiño, MSc, RD is a doctoral student and graduate research assistant in the Department of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise (HNFE) at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia. She is currently a Graduate Research Assistant with the Women and Gender in International Development (WGD) at the Center for International Research, Education, and Development (CIRED). She has participated with the WGD team to develop grants and providing support for workshops. As a Public Health researcher with a focus on international food and nutrition policy. She earned her MSc degree in nutritional sciences from the Public Health School in Mexico (2015) and completed an internship at the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity in New Haven, Connecticut (2014). Sofia earned a BS degree in nutrition and food science from the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City (2012) and completed her dietetic internship at Hospital General Dr. Manuel GEA Gonzales.


Jessica Agnew

Media & Communications Coordinator

Jessica Agnew, MSc, is a doctoral candidate in the School of Public and International Affairs, as well as a Master of Public Health candidate in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech. Her research focuses on private sector approaches to address malnutrition in low and middle income countries. She earned her Bachelor of Arts, and Master of Science in Food, Agriculture, and Resource Economics from the University of Guelph, in Ontario, Canada.

Jessica is a Graduate Assistant in the Center of International Research, Education, and Development and Women and Gender in International Development. In 2018-19 she was awarded the AAUW International Doctoral Fellowship.

For More Information

Women and Gender in International Development: https://cired.vt.edu/women---gender-in-international-development.html

CIRED: https://cired.vt.edu

Virginia Tech: https://vt.edu