Christie talks importance of including women in agricultural research

Maria Elisa Christie standing behind a podium in the front of an auditorium.
Maria Elisa Christie addresses the crowd gathered inside Dolezal Auditorium in Curtiss Hall.

In celebration of International Women in Agriculture Day, Maria Elisa Christie, director of Women and Gender in International Development at the Center for International Research, Education and Development at Virginia Tech, presented “Integrating gender equity in international agricultural research for development.” The lecture took place on March 26 in Curtiss Hall’s Dolezal Auditorium.

In her role at Virginia Tech, Christie works to incorporate gender into agricultural research projects, particularly those that take place in countries around the world. She said it is important for researchers to consider how best to include women in their projects, given the women’s many duties in their homes – caring for children, tending to gardens and livestock, and much more – that limit their ability to travel to research sites.

The projects should also be related to the work women are doing. Home gardens, also known as house lot gardens, often are ignored in research projects, but that may be where women spend a good portion of their time growing plants to feed their families and sell at the market.

“You need to do something that matters to them,” Christie said.

Prior to the lecture, Christie also spent time interacting with several Iowa State faculty and student groups. This included visits to the Center for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods, Seed Science Center, Student Innovation Center and Margaret Sloss Center for Women and Gender Equity.

Sponsors of the lecture included Corteva Agriscience, the International Association of Students in Agriculture and Related Sciences, the Department of Agronomy, and the Committee on Lectures.