Government of Canada's Approach

Gender-based Analysis Plus

Sex vs. Gender

Gender-based Analysis Plus (GBA+) begins with sex and gender. The physical characteristics that distinguish male from female (sex) and the socially, culturally and historically defined characteristics associated with “feminine” and “masculine” (gender) are both important ways to identify individuals who may experience an issue in a similar way.

Not all individuals identify with a binary concept of sex or gender categories of male and female, masculine and feminine. They can exist on a continuum, and can change over time.

Fig. 1 - Gender spectrum
[Text version of Fig. 1 - Gender spectrum]

This figure illustrates that gender is a spectrum with femininity on one extreme and masculinity on the other. In a black box with a white background, the symbol for women is located at the left side, under which is “femininity” is written in black. A band multicolor rectangle, changing from red on the left to blue on the right, leads to the symbol for men on the right side. Under the symbol is “masculinity” in black.

What about the “plus”?

We can use sex and gender as an entry point for analyzing an issue, but women, men, boys and girls are not homogeneous groups. A variety of factors, sometimes referred to as identities, such as age, culture, language, sexual orientation, education, ability, geographic location, migration status, faith, ethnicity, and socio-economic status, intersect with sex and gender to create someone’s experiences.

Fig. 2 - Intersectionality
[Text version of Fig. 2 - Intersectionality]

This figure illustrates some of the factors which can intersect with sex and gender. Six oblong shapes of differing colors overlap and fan out. Each oblong has two identity factors written on it. The top oblong has “sex and gender” written in a larger font. Starting below sex and gender and going clockwise, the additional identities identified are: geography, culture, income, sexual orientation, education, ethnicity, ability, age, religion and language.

By using GBA+, we are guided to examine the factors that intersect with sex and gender to shape individual and group experiences and, ultimately, how these experiences influence the achievement of the intended outcomes of initiatives.

Our Commitment

Did you know that GBA+ is recognized as a key competency in support of the development of effective programs and policies for Canadians?

The Government of Canada has been committed to using GBA+ in the development of policies, programs and legislation since 1995. It provides federal officials with the means to continually improve their work and attain better results for Canadians by being more responsive to specific needs and circumstances.

The Government recently renewed its commitment to GBA+ and is working to strengthen its implementation across all federal departments.

To learn more about the Government’s renewed commitment, including its response to the 2015 Report of the Auditor General of Canada “Implementing Gender-based Analysis”, view the:

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Action Plan on Gender-based Analysis (2016-2020)
View the Action Plan in HTML
View the Action Plan in PDF

GBA+ is everyone's responsibility

Status of Women Canada plays a leadership role in the government-wide implementation of GBA+; however, the commitment to GBA+ is a shared responsibility across all departments and agencies.

All federal officials should incorporate GBA+ into their work by asking some basic questions and challenging personal assumptions about diverse groups of women and men. Through the systematic use of GBA+, federal officials are able to improve their work, ensuring it is inclusive of diverse perspectives.

Status of Women Canada:

  • Facilitates transfer of GBA+ knowledge
  • Provides technical assistance to departments and agencies
  • Develops GBA+ tools and training

Central agencies:

  • Exercise a challenge function
  • Provide guidance on incorporating GBA+ where appropriate

Federal departments and agencies

  • Conduct GBA+
  • Integrate and sustain the practice of GBA+
  • Monitor and report on GBA+ practice and outcomes
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For more information on the roles and responsibilities for GBA+ in the federal government, see Module 4 of the Introduction to GBA+ online course.

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