Professor Katrina Charles features on Vice-Chancellor’s Podcast

9th April 2024

Professor Katrina Charles recently featured on the Fire and Wire podcast, hosted by the University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Irene Tracey. This podcast series, now in its second year, explores different aspects of the Oxford community, documenting the diverse contributions of university students and staff.  

In its latest episode, the podcast recognised female figures whose work has made a global impact. We were therefore delighted to see Professor Charles invited as a guest speaker, alongside Professor Kokila Lakhoo (Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences) and Dr Isang Awah (Department of Social Policy and Intervention). Whilst forming an important part of the University’s International Women’s Day celebrations, the occasion was especially poignant following the REACH Programme’s recent nomination for the Vice-Chancellor’s Research Engagement Award  

To begin the episode, the speakers shared their experiences of working internationally, with Professor Charles describing how the REACH Programme was scaled-up in a global context. In particular, she highlighted how the programme built connections with UNICEF and local governments, to best understand the water security needs in each locality. She then outlined how REACH has subsequently grown its network, connecting interdisciplinary researchers who are collaborating to improve water security in Bangladesh, Ethiopia and Kenya.  

Next, discussion turned to retention of women in academia and the various factors that often affect this. In response, Professor Charles highlighted some of the common obstacles encountered by women in the water sector. These include the traditionally male dominated workforce within the sector, but also the competing cultural expectations that female academics must negotiate alongside their work. While there is work to be done to tackle these obstacles, Professor Charles also shared some positive projections, highlighting ways in which female REACH colleagues have been supported in furthering their careers with international organisations.  

You can hear Professor Charles’ comments in full by listening to the podcast via this link.

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