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  • Writer's pictureChanel Grenaway

Gender-Based Analysis Plus (GBA+) Can Help With That

Updated: May 5, 2023

Do you want to explore why segments of your community are not accessing your services, or struggling to complete programs or are not realizing the expected outcomes? GBA+ can help with that.

Do you want to create meaningful engagement and inclusive opportunities for those that are underrepresented and underserved in your community? GBA+ can help with that.

Do you want to ensure that your policies and programs are relevant, accessible and beneficial to your most vulnerable constituents? GBA+ can help with that.


Gender-Based Analysis Plus Defined

Gender-based analysis plus 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, like race, ethnicity, religion, age, and mental or physical disability.[1]

Intersectional analysis aims to reveal multiple identities, exposing the different types of discrimination and disadvantage that occur as a consequence of the combination of identities. It aims to address the manner in which racism, patriarchy, class oppression and other systems of discrimination create inequalities that structure the relative positions of women. It takes account of historical, social and political contexts and also recognizes unique individual experiences resulting from the coming together of different types of identity[2]


Applying a GBA+ approach to your research, program design or policy helps you to learn about your community and target population at a deeper level. It provides an opportunity to really understand and take into account the multifaceted experiences and needs of underrepresented populations. It moves program managers, leaders and decision makers beyond their assumptions, identifies gaps that may otherwise have been overlooked and involves co-designing programs and policies with input from those with lived experience and those that will be most impacted from the intervention. Finally, applying a GBA+ lens to your work can ensure that you are supporting and empowering community members at your highest capacity.

Applying a GBA+ lens to policy or program design thinking has the potential to:

  • Maximize your social impact by identifying and naming the many aspects of identity and diversity in people’s lives based on factors such as ethnicity, age, culture, sexual orientation, ability, race, and religion

  • Generate vital information about the range of needs, priorities, barriers, experiences, and interests of differently situated women, men, and gender-diverse people

  • Enable organizations to create customized solutions that foster accessibility, engagement and inclusion

  • Ensure programs and services apply to the most disenfranchised people within your target population

I have used GBA+ lines of inquiry to spark discussions with employers about the lived experiences, attitudes and behaviour of racialized youth, new immigrants, and women with disabilities that have been struggling to find a job or retain a job. I have also used gender-based analysis to explore questions related to participant results and delve deeper into program findings. GBA+ analysis is a valuable lens that can shed light on programmatic gaps and opportunities. By asking the right questions, gathering evidence, input and insight directly from the community in a participatory manner, you can uncover how to create better conditions for participation, and remove barriers that often lead to participant disengagement and withdrawal.

GBA+ is most useful when it is:

  • Applied routinely to all aspects of program and project planning, implementation and review (rather than as an after-thought or ‘add-on’)

  • Founded on data and evidence

  • Undertaken in a participatory manner

  • Applied to program and project objectives

GBA+ as a policy and program design tool is used in a variety of spaces, sectors, and industries. The Government of Canada through its Feminist International Assistance Policy is applying a GBA+ lens to move the dial on gender equality and toward the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly Goal Five: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.

Some private sector corporations and industries including information technology, finance, environment, and the health sector are using it to: attract people that are underrepresented, improve services and experiences of underserved populations, create healthy and safe workplaces, identify systemic barriers, and develop more inclusive policies.

The non-profit sector is also embracing this framework and using it to: assess the impact of employment programs, create valuable skills and leadership development programs, explore what it means for women and decent work in the non-profit sector, and increase awareness around the discrimination and barriers experienced by women with disabilities.

There are still plenty of areas where this tool can and should be applied. While no one tool, lens or framework is perfect, if you want to look at your work, your processes and impact in a new way, GBA+ is a valuable option that should be considered.


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