Professor Nicola Rollock | Professor of Social Policy & Race at King’s College London, Author of The Racial Code

Photograph of Dr Nicola Rollock
Photographer: Stuart Simpson, Penguin Random House

Nicola is Professor of Social Policy & Race at King’s College London and Distinguished Fellow, Faculty of Education at the University of Cambridge.

She is interested in how we think about and understand racism as a basis for fostering meaningful change. Nicola is also founder and Director of NIANRO Consulting a boutique research company specialising in innovative racial equity research and advice and, author of The Racial Code: tales of resistance and survival published by Penguin Press in October 2022.

Nicola was previously Specialist Advisor for the Home Affairs Select Committee’s inquiry ‘Macpherson: 22 Years On’; Senior Advisor to the Vice Chancellor at the University of Cambridge and has held advisory roles at the Wellcome Trust and the British Science Association.

She is probably best known for her research into the career experiences of Black female professors and the related exhibition ‘Phenomenal Women’ which went on display at London’s Southbank Centre in 2020 and at the University of Cambridge in 2021 and, for her role as academic expert in the BAFTA-winning Channel 4 documentary The School That Tried to End Racism.

Nicola’s work is highly regarded both within and outside of the academy: in 2021, she was selected by apolitico as one of the 100 most influential academics in politics; in 2020, following an endorsement by Baroness Doreen Lawrence, she was included in the Duke & Duchess of Sussex’s list of NextGeneration Trailblazers for challenging prejudice and contributions to British society and, in 2019, she was selected by Times Higher Education journalists as one of the ‘people of the year’, from across the globe, who impacted on higher education.

What one action would you like to see organisations, or the government take to drive gender equity?

The government and organisations need to better understand and address within gender experiences and outcomes. For example, action needs to be taken regarding the disproportionate number of Black women affected by obstetric challenges such as heavy periods and fibroids and the impact of these on their careers and everyday lives and, crucially, action must be taken to address the number of Black women dying in childbirth.