Pie charts representing diversity in GBA+ data analysis

How you can use GBA+ for inclusive analysis in projects

Director of User Experience Jacqueline Antalik discusses the benefits of Gender-Based Analysis Plus (GBA+)—a tool that helps you see how different genders and diverse people experience policies, programs, and services.

Gender-Based Analysis Plus (GBA+) can improve your design practice to deliver more inclusive services—services that help to improve equality and not re-enforce historic and current gender gaps.

In 2018, BC committed to advancing gender equality by ensuring that gender equity is reflected in all budgets, policies, and programs following the lead of the Canadian federal government. GBA+ is part of the government’s strategy to achieve this. At OXD, we’re supporting the ongoing adoption of this practice within our project work for and with the BC Government.

GBA+ is an analytical process you can apply to your work to assess how diverse groups of women, men, and non-binary people may experience policies, programs, and services. It starts with gender and the plus refers to other identity factors that intersect to make us who we are—like race, ethnicity, religion, age, and mental or physical disability. Creating inclusive services requires being inclusive in our own practice, through our design methods, diverse testing data for quality assurance, and the development choices we make. GBA+ can help inform and shape that practice.

GBA+ can be used throughout the entire service design lifecycle from initial planning, research, co-creation and design, to launch and evaluation. Learn how to apply these methods while managing the classic project constraints of timeline, budget, and scope.

GBA+ process flow

GBA+ process chart diagram
Source: GBA+ job aid. This also includes key questions to ask during each step of a GBA+ process.

Collecting disaggregated data

While using GBA+, it’s important to decide which intersecting facets are important for your research. A clear understanding of these facets impacts our ability to recruit and benefit from collecting data in a disaggregated manner.

Previously, we would detail a number of individual attributes—for example, gender, ethnicity, learning disability, and physical disability to recruit on. When we moved to the research activities, we collected aggregated data to preserve the confidentiality of research participants.

The problem with collecting aggregated data alone is that it can lead to homogeneous insights, hiding the difference between and among subgroup categories. Looking at the data using various combinations of subgroup categories such as, location, age, and language, reveals structural inequalities that may have not been on the research team’s radar.

“Despite the wealth of information and data on socioeconomic indicators, there is a serious lack of race-based data and research that could inform prevention, intervention, and treatment strategies for African Canadians. Authorities acknowledged that disaggregated data along ethnic lines is necessary to understand the human rights concerns of African Canadians.”

2016 United Nations assessment of the human rights situation of people of African descent living in Canada

COVID-19 triggered a call for action around the need to collect data on race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status to better understand the relationship between identity and health. As a result, federal, provincial, and local governments are doing a better job of collecting race-based data. In June 2020, Vancouver City Council unanimously endorsed a call to the province to collect race-based socioeconomic data.

Data analysis and recommendations

We have introduced another GBA+ practice: reflecting on our own identities before starting research analysis. We try to identify and reflect on our own positions of privilege and power in relation to the research topics. This allows us to be mindful of assumptions and bias when analyzing data and making recommendations.

In short, GBA+ is about effective analysis and consistent reflection on design choices.

GBA+ resources

We included a few helpful resources to get you get started:

We look forward to sharing our emerging practices using this process and hearing how you apply GBA+.

To learn more about incorporating GBA+ into your design and analysis process, please get in touch with us today.