New female icons: Professor Charlotte Williams

International Women's Day 2015
Prof Charlotte Williams

The feminist sociologist Dr Roiyah Saltus names her icon for International Women's Day 2015.


Charlotte Williams stands alone as being a great source of inspiration to me. 

Charlotte is Professor of Social Work and Deputy Dean at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, and has recently been awarded a visiting professorship at USW.

In 2007, she was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List for services to ethnic minorities and equal opportunities in Wales.

Her research interests focus on issues of contemporary multiculturalisms, ethnicities and ‘race’ within welfare and professional practice, but more broadly incorporate issues of equality and social justice.  

She has an ongoing research interest in issues of cultural diversity within social work education and practice, and she also has an interest in devolved and federal forms of governance in relation to welfare delivery.

Charlotte has extensively theorised issues of place, locality and nationhood as they impact on welfare practices, particularly in relation to the racialisation or exclusion of minoritised groups and is a frequent essayist on Welsh multiculturalism.

She has always been very generous to me and to others in terms of sharing her time, her intellect, and her insights. She encourages me to take bold steps and to “lean in”, to use a phrase by Sandberg (2013).

Watching and listening to her, I have developed skills on how to develop as a Black female academic and researcher. And yes, these matters of gender and racialisation still matter.

On the few occasions things have become really hard for me, I have always asked myself: “What would Charlotte do?”


About the author: Dr Roiyah Saltus is a sociologist whose research incorporates critical race theory, feminism, community development theory, and critical perspectives in health, social policy and practice. 

Charlotte Williams' latest book (edited) A Tolerant Nation? Revisiting Ethnic Diversity in a DevolvedWales has just been published.