Children's political representation: The right to make a difference

John Wall, Anandini Dar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


While children's rights have made significant gains in recent decades, children and youth continue to wield relatively little power in determining the nature of their societies' rights as such. This article sets out to explore what it might mean for children to enjoy genuine political representation. While it is often acknowledged that children should possess political rights to participation, voice, and citizenship, we argue that there is a need also for their more specific right to representation in democratic government. Furthermore, this right can be realized only if the very notion of representation is rethought along post-modern lines in light of children's particular experiences: as a right not so much to exercise autonomy as to make a political difference. The article examines recent movements toward children's involvement in policy-making, children's parliaments, and children's voting, and then makes practical proposals for enabling children's fuller representational empowerment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)595-612
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Children's Rights
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


  • children
  • democracy
  • difference
  • parliaments
  • politics
  • power
  • representation
  • rights
  • voting


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