GBA+ [Gender-Based Analysis plus] is an analytical tool used 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. The "plus" in the name highlights that GBA+ goes beyond gender, and includes the examination of a range of other intersecting identity factors (such as age, education, language, geography, culture and income). [Status of Women Canada]
Over 20 years ago, the Government of Canada committed to implementing Gender-Based Analysis, or GBA, in policies, programs, and legislation. Status of Women Canada was tasked with creating and championing the framework for GBA, although all federal departments and agencies had a shared responsibility for implementation.
I believe understanding how policies may effect men and women differently is a worthwhile goal. I believe achieving gender equity is a worthwhile goal. But I have serious reservations about an overly strong reliance on the current GBA framework - GBA+ - to achieve that goal. The GBA+ framework developed by Status of Women Canada is not readily integrated with prevailing methods of policy analysis. Doing GBA+ properly often requires data that is often either unavailable, or else hard to obtain in a timely fashion. The lofty ambitions embedded in the current GBA+ analysis framework can make doing GBA+ seem overwhelming or impractical. Moreover, the very concept of Gender-Based Analysis locates gender considerations in the analysis phase of policy making. However effective integration of gender in policy formation requires a holistic approach, with gender being considered at every stage and level of the policy process, from data collection to setting of overall government priorities.