Karen Celis (VUB) and Sarah Childs (University of London) win British book prize

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Thursday, April 14, 2022 — Professors Karen Celis (VUB) and Sarah Childs (University of London) have won a prize for their book Feminist Democratic Representation. The Political Science Association in Britain awarded them this year’s MacKenzie Book Prize for the best book on political science. Celis: "For us this is a very important recognition, for a scientific journey we started 20 years ago!"

The jury praised the book for being refreshing, accessible and a significant step forward in political science. "The book represents a major advance for debates within and outside feminist and democratic political theory and, importantly, does so in a refreshingly accessible and engaging way. The authors draw on a range of research, case studies, concrete examples from everyday life, and their own experiences that invite us to rethink traditional political institutions. This book suggests ways not only for better representation of women, but for representation in general."

Karen Celis is very pleased with the award. "We are very focused today on participatory and deliberative innovations to strengthen democracy. But we also need to work on our formal representative bodies (parliaments, municipal councils, etc) because, until further notice, that’s where the laws are made. It is there where rights are decided, and possibly also removed. Making them function inclusively and democratically is therefore crucial. We’ve used feminist theory - inclusion, responsiveness and equality - to visualise and then draw up a new representation process. That’s what we do in this book: we do democratic design, we redesign our parliaments so they function more democratically."