Introduction to GBA+

Sex and gender - video

Video Transcript

Video Transcript

Beyond sex and gender

We’ve all heard it: “You can’t really understand another person’s experience until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.” Shoes aren’t one-size-fits-all and neither are policies, programs and services.

That’s what gender-based analysis plus (or G-B-A-+) is all about. So, how does it work?   Doing a gender-based analysis means gathering information on how different groups of people may experience the same situation differently.  This is your chance to identify risks and opportunities as you design your initiative… and create appropriate mitigation strategies.

Let’s start at the beginning. What makes you who you are? Is it your age? Your ethnic background? Where you live? It’s all of this and more. These are called identity factors.

Sex and gender are two identity factors that are the starting points for GBA+. The terms “sex” and “gender” are often used interchangeably but they are actually separate concepts.

Sex refers to a set of biological attributes and is associated with physical and physiological features. Sex is usually categorized as female or male but there is variation in biological attributes and how those attributes are expressed.

Gender, on the other hand, refers to the socially constructed roles, behaviours, expressions and identities of individuals. Gender helps determine how people perceive themselves and each other and how they act and interact. It can even have an impact on how power and resources are distributed in a society.

An example of gender norms in Canada

An example of gender norms in Canada

Despite their increased participation in the Canadian workforce, women still act as the primary caregivers of both children and the elderly in the home. We assume women will be the main caregivers (in heterosexual couples) not because of their sex (biology), but because we see caregiving as part of their role as the female parent (socially defined in an assumed heterosexual couple), and a culturally-constructed association between femininity and nurturing. The uneven burden of caregiving in Canada has economic and health outcome repercussions for women, including contributing to the gender-wage gap. In addition, policies that overlook the role of men as primary caregivers and nurturers perpetuate gender stereotypes that are harmful to men as well as women.