SIM TIG Week: How to Integrate Gender-Based Analysis Plus (GBA+) into Impact Measurement Practice by Victoria Carlan

Hello, my name is Victoria Carlan and I lead the impact measurement group at the Government of Canada’s Impact and Innovation Unit (IIU).  The IIU works with departments and agencies across the federal government to advance the integration of outcomes-based approaches in the design and delivery of Government of Canada policies, programs and services. It fulfills this purpose by promoting policy innovation and experimentation, supporting public sector leadership, providing advice and support in the design and implementation of new outcomes-based funding models, and continuously and rigorously examining and sharing our progress and insights.

This past summer, I worked with two talented researchers – Dana Crawhall-Duk and Alana Couvrette  – to examine how we can integrate Gender-Based Analysis Plus (GBA+) into our impact measurement practice to further enhance policy outcomes.  The “plus” in GBA+ acknowledges that GBA goes beyond biological (sex) and socio-cultural (gender) differences to include other identity factors, such as race, ethnicity, age, physical or mental disability, that intersect to make us who we are.

Our work is still underway, but here are a few lessons that we have learned so far:

Lessons Learned:

  • Do your own personal and policy homework first. Consideration of gender and other intersectional factors begins at the early stages of the policy design and impact measurement process. Coming prepared to these early planning meetings to initiate specific conversations about gender and other identity factors is critical.  It sometimes requires constructing “aha” moments through evidence of unintended outcomes when we have been gender +-blind or, if necessary, pointing to others (e.g., individuals, organizations or policy contexts) that have successfully adopted these inclusive analytical approaches.
  • Be prepared to be uncomfortable. Questioning and challenging our mental models of how people behave (or not), our underlying values that guide our decision making, and recognizing our own biases rarely produce immediate feelings of gratification or accomplishment. This work is hard.  By its very nature, meaningful co-creation and social innovation generates a discomfort that arises as you begin to challenge the status quo, question the validity of past research or evaluation findings, and explore the roots of your own experiences and beliefs.
  • Be creative when fighting against the demons of scare resources – in particular the lack of time. In response, I have developed my own “GBA+ toolkit” (yours will be different) to ensure I am asking the right questions (of myself and to others) in an order that leaves time and space for self- and group reflection and the necessary work of identifying, inviting and integrating the voices of those impacted by policy efforts and our measurement practices.

Rad Resource: GBA+ is a tool developed by the Status of Women Canada to guide the analysis of how diverse groups of women, men and gender-diverse people may experience policies, programs and initiatives.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Social Impact Measurement Week with our colleagues in the Social Impact Measurement Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from our SIM TIG members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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