The WGD Discussion Series (Spring 2018)

Speaker: Dr. Basundhara Bhattarai

Title: Climate Change and Agrobiodiversity in Nepal: A Gendered Perspective

Date/Place: Thursday, March 15th, 2017. Newman Library, MPR 101


Executive Summary:

The third session of the WGD Discussion Series for Spring 2018 presented Dr. Basundhara Bhattarai, Senior Gender and Development Specialist at the Institute for Studies and Development Worldwide (IFSD). This event was also held in honor of Virginia Tech’s Women’s Month, Principles of Community Week at Virginia Tech, and part of the 2017-2018 Women and Minority Artists and Scholars Lecture Series (WMASLS). Sponsors of our event including Outreach and International Affairs (OIA), the Department of Geography, and Women’s and Gender Studies.

Dr. Bhattarai’s presentation was focusing on a topic that built upon her research on the extent to which gender relations are shifting in agrobiodiversity management given the greater challenge of climate and socio-economic change in Nepal. Her presentation brought up some interesting evidences highlighting the unintended consequences of the improved agrobiodiversity and the increasing family income bolstered by the influx of remittance from the male out-migration.

The session was attended by at least 63 people, including three people on WebEx, 45 women and 18 men. Majority of the participants (81%) were students: almost 90 % were undergraduate from various programs namely Pamplin College of Business, Department of Geography, Engineering, and Sociology; and 10 % were graduate student. Other participants beyond the students are faculty member (eight people), staff (two people), and one community member.

From the total 14 post-event survey respondents, ten people identified themselves as female and two were male, ten respondents were undergraduate students, one graduate student, and three faculty. Majority of them, 75%, described that that they attended the event for the first time and 100% said that they were interested to attend another speaker series hosted by Women and Gender in International Development. Out of 14 survey respondents, only one person will not recommend the event to others. In regards to the question whether the topic presented was interesting, five respondents said it was very interesting, eight fairly interesting, and one mildly interesting. The respondents describe that the session allowed the participant to “learn about the role of women in the agroindustry in Nepal.”Others describe that the session discussed many interesting issues that they have never considered before, specifically the extent to which gender and agriculture/biodiversity are intersected.  Further, one respondent describes that “I found the presentation fascinating, specifically the myriad factors that contributed to changes in farmer’s decision making about what types of crops to plant.

  • Compiled by an academic staff of Virginia Tech