Exploring law and reality: WLSA methodology: a Zimbabwe version?
Stewart, Julie. E.
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Women and Law in Southern Africa (WLSA) is, as its name suggests, a Southern African research organisation that focuses on issues that affect women, particularly those issues that intersect with the law in its most broadly pluralistic sense. WLSA grew out of the concern of a group of Southern African academics working in the fields of women and the law and family law that there was a great deal of activist rhetoric and calls for the improvement of women's legal and social condition but there was little empirical data on how the law affected women and how women used the law. At the outset the philosophy was that women would be able to improve their status and socio-economic positions by utilising the law that was in place. If there was no suitable law in place to deal with particular needs then it needed to be put in place. The theory being that if the necessary law was in place or once it was put in place then all that was needed to be done was for the content of that law to be disseminated. Then women would flock to utilise it, and magically, just by adding the wonder product "instant law" to their lives, their legally related problems would be solved. In retrospect this was a profoundly naive, legally centralist, positivist vision of law's role in people's lives.