Patricia Biermayr-Jenzano


Adjunct Professor - Center for Latin American Studies


School of Foreign Service (SFS)
General profile



+1 202-687-0141


Dr. Patricia Biermayr-Jenzano is a social scientist and gender specialist who has worked extensively to develop research approaches and gender analysis in relation to the feminization of agriculture. She holds an MS and PhD in Agricultural Extension and Social Anthropology from Cornell University, NY and an Agricultural Engineering degree in Plant Science from Buenos Aires, Argentina. Her research and applied work has deep roots in Participatory Action Research (PAR) theory and practice while she has been deeply involved on mainstreaming gender in agriculture and conservation-related efforts.

Currently, she is a Sustainable Development and Agriculture Professor at the Center for Latin America Studies, Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service and an Adjunct Professor for the Women and Gender Studies (WGST) and Environmental Studies (ENST) at Georgetown University, in Washington DC. Dr. Biermayr-Jenzano conducts grounded research on women farmers’ work, patterns of discrimination and empowerment, gender and food security, women’s access to productive assets such as land, seeds, seeds systems, as well as their contributions in participatory plant breeding (PPB) and participatory varietal selection (PVS) strategies. She teaches graduate and undergraduate courses on gender and sustainable development, sustainable agriculture; population, gender and the environment and qualitative research methods with emphasis in participatory action research (PAR).

She is presently developing an action research study along with grassroots organizations, Government and academia in the Kingdom of Bhutan. This work portrays women farmers in rural Bhutan and strives to learn women’s roles and contributions towards the transformation of the local economy. This research is aimed to analyze the role of women farmers in the realization of Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness (GNH) a unique concept that portrays a commitment to building a prosperous and equitable society based in their profound Buddhist spiritual values, gender equity along with the pursuit of economic growth.

Dr. Biermayr-Jenzano is also an International Consultant for the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Office of Evaluation in Rome and the Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean conducting country program evaluations and gender assessments. Other related work includes research analysis and fieldwork for the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) and also for the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). For IFPRI she analyzed qualitative technical interventions conducted in selected research projects related to Gender and Health Impacts from the adoption of Genetically Engineered crops, supporting Biotechnology and Biosafety decision making in developing countries for IFPRI’s Program of Biosafety Systems (PBS). She has conducted gender analysis for selected value chains and crops in Africa (Morocco, Kenya, Tanzania), South East Asia (The Philippines), Latin America (Argentina, Colombia, Peru, Paraguay and Bolivia), the Caribbean (Belize, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago) and Central America (Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica).

Earlier, Dr. Biermayr-Jenzano worked as the Program Leader of the Participatory Research and Gender Analysis Program of the Consultative Group of International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) in Cali, Colombia. In this position, she led, coordinated and implemented the program’s intellectual vision, engaging in collaborative research, identifying strategic opportunities to mainstream gender and enhance the role of women farmers. She also performed as a Regional Project Coordinator for FAO in Central America based in San José, Costa Rica covering Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras for the implementation of an environmental health related project working with local governments, NGOs and National Agricultural Research Systems (NARS). In the US, she worked on issues related to diversity, gender and social stratification at Cornell University for the Cooperative Extension System in New York. While at Cornell, she explored the migration and occupational work patterns of Women Latino Migrant Farmworkers (Mexico and Central America) who settled in upstate New York while conducting agricultural tasks. She also conducted ethnographic research in the Andes Region, studying the effects and implications of government led Intercultural Education Programs directed to Indigenous Quechua Women and its impact on Gender Relations, Cultural Preservation and Identity Formation in Rural Bolivia. She studied how ethnicity, race and gender determine ways in which traditional societies and Indigenous Peoples conserve biodiversity and natural resources. Later on, she was awarded a Fellowship in Population and Environment by the University of Michigan, Center for Population Studies (Population-Environment Fellows Program), working with organizations providing technical assistance to field-based projects concerning the integration of population, gender and environment.

Finally, she enjoys working with students in a variety of topics and conducting action oriented programs and projects with them. She lives in Norther Virginia with her husband Thomas and son Brandon.


  • Ph.D. (2001) Cornell University, Agricultural Extension; Minor: Latin American Stud
  • M.S. (1998) Cornell University, Extension Education: Minor: Social Anthropology
  • Agricultural Engineer (1983) Universidad de Moron, Buenos Aires Argentina, Plant Science


  • Portuguese (speak, read, write)
  • Spanish (speak, read, write)