Introduction to GBA+
The GBA+ process
Demystifying GBA+: job aid
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Analyzing the full impacts of an initiative is a competency. Gender-based Analysis Plus – or GBA+ – is a tool developed by Status of Women Canada to guide this analytical process. Using GBA+ helps you assess the potential impacts – positive or negative – of initiatives on diverse groups of women, men and gender-diverse people, enabling you to identify risks and create mitigation strategies. Diversity helps us to innovate and to consider issues and policy in a different way.
Groups of people are not homogeneous. Although gender is usually conceptualized as a binary (girl/woman and boy/man), there is considerable diversity in how individuals and groups understand, experience, and express gender. The “plus” in GBA+ acknowledges that GBA goes beyond biological (sex) and socio-cultural (gender) differences. We all have multiple identity factors that intersect to make us who we are; GBA+ also considers many other identity factors, like race, ethnicity, religion, age, and mental or physical disability.
All of the work we do affects Canadians. GBA+ is a tool that will prompt you to consider the full impact of government initiatives from the perspectives of diverse people, and to identify potential challenges at an early stage. GBA+ is not something to be tacked on after the fact, nor can it be carried out by just one person. It is a tool that should be used at all stages of the policy cycle, from development to implementation. Start your GBA+ sooner – before you write your options or begin your design.
Initiatives vary and there is no single GBA+ template, however there are some key considerations and questions to ask at each step of the process.
In short, GBA+ is about effective analysis – and every public servant has a responsibility to complete GBA+ on all their work.
|GBA+ step||Description||Key questions to ask||Answers|
|Identify key issue||
The first step is to identify the context and the gender and diversity issues.
Nothing happens in a vacuum. Your initiative may have a narrow objective, but it will always be linked to broader government priorities. The social, cultural, and economic environments are also important. Start by making these connections.
Look beyond the topic of the Memorandum to Cabinet or Treasury Board Submission. Consider the depth and breadth of the issue.
We all have assumptions. In addition to our individual assumptions, the institution you work for may have formal or informal policies in place that can affect the development or outcome of an initiative. You need to be aware of these. Remember that workplace culture, behaviours, activities or processes all shape your assumptions.
Although the proposal you are working on may appear to affect everyone equally, always challenge your assumptions about whether it has gender and other diversity implications.
|Gather the facts - research & consult||
Remember that you don’t have all the answers…but you can get a better picture of the issue through research and consultation.
You need data to assess whether your initiative will have a more significant impact on a particular group of people, or whether barriers exist.
The data you use should be gender-disaggregated and should include other intersecting identity factors, such as Indigenous status, age or disability. If information is not available, don’t abandon your analysis. Identify gaps in existing data and consider making data collection part of your initiative’s objectives and evaluation measures.
Make sure to use GBA+ when you design your consultation process. It is not enough to consult the general public and then apply your findings to all groups. Seek out multiple viewpoints. Engage Canadians of various identities, and consult broad and inclusive sources to deepen your analysis.
Don’t forget: accessibility issues, social conditions and economic considerations can all affect someone’s ability to participate in your consultation process.
|Develop options & make recommendations||
Your choice of words can also have an impact — consider them carefully.
The results of your consultation and research should inform your options and recommendations at all stages of initiative development and implementation.
Using the data you have gathered, indicate how the options you propose respond to the specific issues you identified. Present your GBA+ findings to decision-makers clearly.
If you have found that your initiative could have differential impacts or unintended barriers, suggest strategies to strengthen the proposal. And be sure to highlight your plan to fill any data gaps that your GBA+ identified.
|Monitor & evaluate||
GBA+ also applies to the evaluation and monitoring of your initiative. The design of your evaluation framework and approach to monitoring can help address inequality and build capacity.
Make sure your evaluation identifies groups who are positively or negatively affected by the initiative.
Highlight data gaps and address unintended outcomes for diverse groups. Incorporate them into strategy renewals or management responses.
Use GBA+ when considering how to communicate your initiative.
Identify your target audiences, and tailor your messaging appropriately. Show how your initiative supports diversity, and use inclusive examples, languages and symbols. Review your messaging to ensure you are not perpetuating stereotypes. Whenever possible, choose images and language that challenge harmful stereotypes.
Finally, remember to share or discuss your GBA+ results within your organization. This will demonstrate due diligence, foster buy-in with stakeholders, and identify areas for further action.
It is essential to document your analysis and findings throughout the cycle of the initiative. Why?