The COVID-19 pandemic and the disruptions it has caused have created moments which feminist institutionalists such as Fional Mackay term as moments of “newness” and opportunities to craft gender change in institutions. In her study, Mackay proposes a framework within which gender reforms can be cautiously integrated into institutions, especially in contexts of broad restructuring processes, political transition, and constitutional or institutional “engineering”.
Mackay presents nested newness as “a metaphor used to capture the ways in which the new is embedded in time, sequence, and institutional environment”. Notably, newness (new changes in a reforming institution) is often interwoven in considerable complexities of the past, what Mackay refers to as the “legacies of the past”, which include “material legacies and existing patterns of power distribution” but also cognitive and normative legacies —“frames of mind” and “habits of the heart”.
*The views of the above article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Africa Speaks 4 Africa or its editorial team.