Patricia L. Biermayr-Jenzano


Adjunct Instructor


Center for Latin American Studies (CLAS)
General profile



+1 703-790-1537


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 a PhD in Agricultural Extension and Social Anthropology from Cornell University, NY and a degree in Agricultural Engineering in Plant Science from 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 Visiting Scholar at the Center for Latin America Studies, Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service and an Adjunct Professor for the Science, Technology and International Affairs (STIA) and the Women and Gender Studies (WGST) at the School of Foreign Service 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, access to productive assets such as seeds, seeds systems, participatory plant breeding (PPB) and participatory varietal selection (PVS) strategies. She teaches graduate and undergraduate courses on gender and sustainable development, sustainable agriculture, and research methods with emphasis in participatory action research and qualitative data analysis.

She has performed as a consultant for the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), particularly on key qualitative research analysis on 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). Other previous interventions included assessing changes in household structure and livelihoods for rural children and families affected by HIV/AIDS in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa (Project KIDS III) and the analysis of the Integrated Nutrition Child Development Service (ICDS) in rural India, investigating the operation and effectiveness of the program in the context of Phase-out of Title II Food CARE (Policy research).

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. Dr. Biermayr-Jenzano’s gender research and applied work goes across geographic regions with emphasis in Latin America (South and Central America). She has also worked in Southeast Asia, the Near East and East Africa with research field based organizations in the incorporation of a gender perspective to participatory plant breeding and varietal selection processes directed to women farmers. She performed as a Regional Project Coordinator for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (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.


  • 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)