Gender Based Analysis and Health Policy: The Need to Rethink Outdated Strategies
A government strategy gender mainstreaming Canada known in Canada as gender based
GM was formally accepted in 1995 as an international strategy to assesses the deferential
impact of proposed and/or existing policies, programmes and legislation on women and men
Organisation(WHO,2002 ) for example, has stated that “gender mainstreaming must become
standard practice in all policies and programmes
It makes for good science and sound evidence by ensuring that biological and social differences
between women and men are brought into the foreground
Others claim that mainstreaming can also work positive changes for groups marginalized on the
bases of race ,ability ,sexual orientation or poverty
Although considerable strides have been made over the last decade on balance, policy
directions and priorities have not been significantly altered
Conceptual limitations of GBA. ambiguities surrounding the categories of sex and gender persist,
differences among women with regard to health status, experiences of the health care system,
health behaviour, and other determinants of health are not properly identified or responded to.
and, the subject of men and men’s health has not been addressed adequately
In Canada the preferred term is gender based analysis (GBA)
For example in 1976 a strategy of interrogation was introduced that required a gendered
assessment of all federal initiatives.
In 1981 Canada ratified the united nations convention on the elimination of all forms of
discriminations against women, committing to the protection of women’s rights
GM can be understood as a strategy for making women’s as well as men’s concerns and
experience an integral dimension of the design implementation, monitoring and evaluation of
policies and programmes so that women and men can benefit equally and inequality is not
The federal plan for gender equality (1995-2000) stated that all subsequent federal legislations
and policies were to include where appropriate an analysis of the potential for the differential
impacts on men and women
2000 Beijing+5 conference ,the Ad Hoc committee of the 23 special session of the united
nations general assembly made specific recommendations for member countries in terms of
integrating GM into the area of women’s health.
Collect and disseminate updated and reliable data on morality and morbidity of women and
conduct further research regarding how social and economic factors affect the health of girls
and women of all ages as well as research about the provision of health care services to girls and
women and the patterns of use of such services and the value of disease prevention and health
promotion programmes for women,
Eliminate gender biases in bio medical, clinical and social research GM, Health and the Canadian Context
Health Canada is a leader in GBA at the conceptual and policy application level. The women’s
health strategy of 1999 has been an invaluable contribution in this regard as it set out a
comprehensive plan for applying GBA in all of Health Canada’s research and policy work.
Health Canada will as a matter of standard practice, apply gender based analysis to programmes
and policies in the areas of health system modernization, population health, risk management,
direct services and research,
GBA be applied to policies and programmes in the areas of health system modernization,
population health, risk management, direct services and research
Tools, methods and training material be developed to assist in implementing these gender
impact assessments across the department and that senior managers be oriented to the
requirements of GBA.
Women’s health issues be taken into consideration in the annual planning exercises of the
Health Canada’s approach to ethical issues
Gender considerations and differential impacts be one of the criteria when assessing research
and demonstration proposals for which Health Canada funding is being sought.
A plan be developed identifying objectives and initiatives that will address socioeconomic issues
related to health.
Gender analysis of health Canada’s legal work, be carried out by the legal services unit,
supported by the unit ‘s gender equality specialist designated by justice Canada.
In 2000 health Canada developed a gender based analysis policy, it confirms the department’s
commitment to the implementation of a gender based analysis and outlines ways in which it is
being integrated into the policies and programmes of health Canada. The bureau of women’s
health and gender analysis- with its small GBA unit, located in the health policy branch, oversees
the implementation and evaluation of GBA, and ensures that women’s health concerns are
integrated and responded to appropriately by Health Canada.
According to Health Canada ,incorporating GBA into all aspects of health policy and research is
critical for the following reasons:
Fulfils the government of Canada’s domestic and international commitments to equality
Gender equality is essential to health as defined by the (WHO)
GBA helps to actualize health Canada’s mandate to ensure equal access to, and benefits from
the health system for all Canadians.
It explores the relationship between gender and other determinants of health and how this
relationship mediates health and the use of health services.
Good science makes for good policy.
Good policy safeguards human rights and Canada’s commitments to ensuring that Canadians are
served by the best possible health policies, programmes and services.What Does GBA in Health Entail?
GBA seeks to understand how and why inequalities occur in health.
In Canada it is commonly accepted that formal equality which focuses on sameness of treatment
and benefit has not been replaced by substantive equality which focuses on the accommodation
of differences and overcoming related experiences of oppression, subordination and material
disparities. substantive equality or as it sometimes is referred to as gender equity, recognizes
that different approaches vis-a-vis men and women may be needed to ensure equitable
outcomes, This is especially true in health where women’s and men’s needs and experiences
often differ and substantive knowledge gaps remain about women’s health in particular
regarding differences among groups of women. Research is especially lacking for Aboriginal
women, women with disabilities, immigrant women, women of colour, older women and
lesbian women who require special attention and dedicated resources.
Health Canada’s (2003b) internationally recognized exploring concepts of gender and health.
Morrow provides compelling examples of how being male or female affects health
GBA requires taking into account