Introduction to GBA+



Ability consists of the possession of the means or skill to do something. In the context of GBA+, ability constitutes an important factor of identity that should be taken into account during the policy process. Those with constrained mental or physical abilities may require special consideration when designing a policy, program or initiative.
Assumptions consist of beliefs or ideas that individuals hold to be true and are often based on little or no evidence.

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Barriers are those things that prevent movement, or make access to a service more difficult for certain groups and individuals.

Barriers exist at different levels, and may be personal, cultural, institutional and structural.
Beijing Platform for Action

The United Nations held the fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in September 1995. The Beijing Platform for Action marked the first major global commitment to “gender mainstreaming” as a way to accelerate women's empowerment and end gender discrimination. The declaration cites the commitment among governments to advance the goals of equality, development and peace for all women everywhere and to ensuring that a gender perspective is reflected in all policies and programs.

*For more information on the 12 focus areas see:

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Central Agencies
Within the Government of Canada, the Privy Council Office (PCO), the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS) and the Department of Finance (FIN) are known as the central agencies.

The central agencies play a “challenge function” role for the application GBA+ across government and may request evidence of GBA+ in documents going to Cabinet for approval, such as a Memorandum to Cabinet or Treasury Board Submission.
Cisgender is a person who identifies with the gender they were assigned at birth.

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Disaggregated data
Disaggregated data refers to data broken down by age, race, ethnicity, income, education, etc. This is sometimes referred to as sex- or gender-disaggregated data.
Discrimination refers to exclusion, prejudice or restriction of opportunity because of one’s belonging to a category of people or things (e.g. gender, disability, religion, age, ethnicity, etc.)
Diverse groups of people

Groups of people are not homogeneous. A variety of factors such as ethnicity, socio-economic status, ability, sexual orientation, migration status, age, faith, gender identity and geography interact with sex and gender to contribute to different lived experiences.

Diversity consists of the conditions, expressions and experiences of different groups identified by age, culture, ethnicity, education, gender, disability, sexual orientation, migration status, geography, language and religious beliefs (and other factors).

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Flexible approach
A flexible approach, sometimes referred to as an integrated approach, involves considering and incorporating the range of needs and circumstances of diverse populations into a policy, program or initiative.

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Gender-based Analysis+
Gender-based Analysis+ (GBA+) is an analytical process to assess the potential impacts of policies, programs, services, and other initiatives on diverse groups of women and men, taking into account gender and other identity factors.
Gender-based Analysis Plus (GBA+)
Gender-based Analysis Plus (GBA+) is an analytical process used to assess how diverse groups of women, men and non-binary people may experience policies, programs and initiatives. 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, such as race, ethnicity, religion, age, and mental or physical disability.
GBA+ reflex
Having a GBA+ reflex means that considering gender and diversity factors has become a routine and automatic part of your work and thought process.
Gender refers to the characteristics associated with “feminine” and “masculine,” as defined by society, culture and history.
Gender refers to the roles, behaviours, activities, and attributes that a given society may construct or consider appropriate for men and women. It can result in stereotyping and limited expectations about what women and men can and cannot do.
Gender equality
Gender equality refers to equal rights, responsibilities and opportunities for women, men and non-binary people. Equality refers to the state of being equal while equity refers to the state of being just, impartial or fair. However, equality of opportunity by itself does not guarantee equal outcomes for women, men and non-binarypeople.
Gender equity
Gender equity refers to fairness, impartiality and justice in the distribution of benefits and responsibilities between women, men and non-binary people. Unlike gender equality, which simply provides for equality of opportunity, gender equity explicitly recognizes and actively promotes measures to address historical and social disadvantages. By ‘levelling the playing field,’ gender equity creates circumstances through which gender equality can be achieved. Gender equity means providing all social actors with the means to take advantage of equality of opportunity.
Gender expression
Gender expression refers to the various ways in which people choose to express their gender identity. For example: clothes, voice, hair, make-up, etc. A person’s gender expression may not align with societal expectations of gender. It is therefore not a reliable indicator of a person’s gender identity.
Gender identity
Gender identity is an internal and deeply felt sense of being a man or woman, both or neither. A person’s gender identity may or may not align with the gender typically associated with their sex.
Gender mainstreaming
Gender mainstreaming consists of an institutional policy and program strategy that seeks to integrate women's concerns into all aspects and sectors of activity. This term is most often used in an international context.
Gender neutral
Gender neutral refers to programs, policy and language that are free of explicit or implicit reference to gender or sex.
Gender roles
Gender roles refers to learned behaviours in a given society/community that determine which activities, tasks and responsibilities are perceived as masculine and feminine. Gender roles are affected by age, class, race, ethnicity, religion or other ideologies and by the geographical, economical and political environment. Changes in gender roles often occur in response to changing economic or political circumstances. Gender roles within a given social context may be flexible or rigid, similar or different and complementary or conflicting.
Gender sensitivity refers to being aware that there are both biological and gender differences between diverse groups of people and including sex and gender as socially important variables.

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Historical disadvantage
Throughout history, diverse groups of women and men have faced both formal and social barriers and disadvantages in particular societies, based on gender, ethnicity, religion, age, and so on.

Historical disadvantage refers to this systemic circumstance or condition.
Of the same kind or nature; essentially alike.

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Impact is the influence or effect of public policy.
Intersex people are born with any of several variations in sex characteristics, including chromosomes, gonads, sex hormones, or genitals that do not fit with typical conceptions of “male” or “female” bodies.
Indicators refer to the types of results that a policy, program or service wants to achieve. Indicators explain how you are going to measure and monitor the achievements of the desired changes, quantitatively or qualitatively.
Intersecting factors
People are members of more than one community at the same time and live multiple, layered identities.  For example, a woman who is also a new immigrant and a senior can be viewed as belonging to three separate identity groups. Intersecting factors refers to the point where these ‘conditions’ overlap or intersect to create opportunities and/or barriers.

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LGBTQ2 is an acronym standing for the categories of lesbian, gay, bisexual (those who are attracted to both men and women), transgender, intersex, queer (a self-identifying term used in some gay communities, typically by younger persons) and two-spirit. There are many different acronyms that may be used by various communities. It should be noted that acronyms like these may combine sex, gender, and sexual orientation attributes into one community. This combination may or may not be appropriate in all circumstances, and GBA+ analysis should be specific where appropriate.

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People and/or groups who are relegated to an unimportant or powerless position within a society.

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Natural disasters
Environmental events, not (directly) human made, such as volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, floods, cyclones, epidemics, drought, and famine.
Non-Binary (also ‘genderqueer’) refers to a person whose gender identity does not align with a binary understanding of gender such as man or woman. A gender identity which may include man and woman, androgynous, fluid, multiple, no gender, or a different gender outside of the “woman—man” spectrum.

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Outcomes refer to the results that would be necessary to achieve the operational objectives of a policy, program or service.

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Sex refers to a person’s biological and physiological characteristics. A person’s sex is most often designated by a medical assessment at the moment of birth. This is also referred to as birth-assigned sex.
Sex-disaggregated data
Sex-disaggregated refers to the collection of statistics that are presented by sex to show the respective data for women and men separately.
Systemic discrimination
Systemic discrimination refers to a system-wide, yet often subtle, form of discrimination. It consists of distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the basis of one’s belonging to a category of people. This can apply to gender, ethnicity, religion, age, disability, etc. It is often a mixture of intentional and unintentional actions that will have a more serious effect (or a disproportionate impact) on one group than on others.

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Targeted approach
A targeted approach involves taking measures to meet specific identified needs, or to prevent a group from being negatively affected by a policy, program or initiative.
Trans or transgender
Trans or transgender is a person whose gender identity differs from what is typically associated with the sex they were assigned at birth. It includes people who identify with binary genders (i.e. trans men and women), and people who do not fit within the gender binary, i.e. non-binary, gender non-conforming, genderqueer, agender, etc.
Transsexual is a term that is no longer commonly used, though may be more frequently used by transgender individuals of an older cohort. The term defines a person whose gender identity differs from their sex assigned at birth, who has undertaken physical transition which may include medical and/or surgical interventions. The term has fallen out of favour as it implies that physical transition is necessary in order to claim a trans identity.
Two-Spirit (also Two Spirit or Two-Spirited) is an English term used to broadly capture concepts traditional to many Indigenous cultures. It is a culturally-specific identity used by some Indigenous people to indicate a person whose gender identity, spiritual identity and/or sexual orientation comprises both male and female spirits.

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