Posted: December 21, 2016

Researchers from around the world land at Penn State to discuss gender and economic issues.

"Integrating gender-related dimensions into agricultural research can help improve food and economic security and enhance the well-being of rural populations in developing countries and here at home," said Deanna Behring, director of international programs for the college.

That's why gender researchers from around the world converged at Penn State in June to discuss the importance of incorporating gender concepts into international agricultural research.

Sponsored by the college's Gender, Agriculture, Energy, and Environment Initiative, the event addressed how gender intersects with factors such as climate change, land and water use, biodiversity, access to agricultural value chains and technologies, sustainable agriculture practices, and divisions of labor.

Following the symposium, many attendees remained at Penn State for the Gender Research and Integrated Training program, a three-week series of workshops led by faculty in the college. The training is funded by a two-year grant from the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research--commonly known as CGIAR--and its Consortium of International Agricultural Research Centers. The CGIAR Consortium consists of 15 centers around the world.

The Penn State project supports the consortium's gender strategy, which commits CGIAR research programs to develop agricultural technologies, farming systems, and policies to support rural women in improving agricultural productivity and their livelihoods.

Participants in the training sessions are paired with faculty mentors who will provide support after the in-class portion ends. These relationships will continue over the multiple-year series to maximize the participants' application of gender-related tools and skills to their own research.

"We aim to create an internal network of support and partnership while fostering a cohort of global leaders dedicated to gender issues within the CGIAR system," said Carolyn Sachs, professor of rural sociology.

---Chuck Gill