GBA+ step by step
The Government of Canada makes decisions that affect Canadians every day. Using gender-based analysis plus, or G-B-A-+ is a key step in creating initiatives that work for everyone.
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.
So let’s spend a moment looking at how we do a GBA+, and demystify it.
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 environment are also important. Start by making these connections.
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.
Remember that you don’t have all the answers… but you can get a better picture of the issue through research and consultation.
The data you use should be gender-disaggregated and should include other intersecting identity factors, such as ethnicity, 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.
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.
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 your GBA+ results. 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?
- The data and analysis that guided your recommendations provide meaningful background information.
- You may be asked to provide evidence that a GBA+ was conducted and to explain the process that guided your recommendations.
- This information could inform a future proposal.
With some practice, you will develop a “GBA+ reflex.”
Considering gender and diversity factors will be integrated into your thought process and become a routine part of your work.
Visit Status of Women Canada and check out our Demystifying GBA+: job aid on GCpedia.
Information is available upon request for those outside the Government of Canada.