Questioning biases – how can Gender-based Analysis Plus support the research work in PREPARE?  

Funded by the European Commission, the main objective of PREPARE is to identify the vulnerabilities and stigmas children may face when they are exposed to violent extremist environments. The project follows a human-rights, rule-of-law, and gender-informed approach.  Gender-Based Analysis Plus (GBA+) is an analytical process used to assess how different women, men and gender diverse people may experience policies, programs and initiatives. The short course addresses potential biases and facilitates the work of the consortium partners in identifying any vulnerabilities children may face when their parents are part of violent extremist networks. 

What is Gender-based Analysis Plus?  

Gender-based Analysis Plus, or GBA+, is a tool the Canadian Government uses to plan and design initiatives and programmes. This analytical method is used to assess the potential impacts of policies, programmes, services, and other initiatives on diverse groups of women, men, and people with other gender identities.  

Two key aspects of GBA+:  

  1. GBA+ does not only consider gender; it also takes into account a range of intersecting identity factors (such as age, sexual orientation, disability, education, language, geography, culture and income) – which is what the “plus” stands for.  
  1. GBA+ can be used and applied by every professional in order to consider the impact of projects in a more structured way. The main objective is to explore and understand the changing realities and inequalities of diverse groups of people: how do different groups of people experience projects and policies differently? How does the interaction between various characteristics influence the way somebody might experience a government initiative? 

Applying GBA+ in Research – How does this work in practice?  

It starts by asking yourself a series of questions that will help you identify and challenge your own as well as your project’s, policy’s, or intervention’s assumptions, such as: 

  • Are there specific non-target groups who may be affected? 
  • Will some groups be excluded from benefits? 
  • What are some possible unintended consequences? 
  • What are anticipated socio-economic repercussions? 

In addition, it is important to consult others to get a more comprehensive picture of how different groups may experience the initiative – this can include intended beneficiaries, stakeholders, experts, and so on.  

For instance, your project may envision regular meetings with beneficiaries. These consultations may shed light on potential barriers experienced by a single parent with childcare obligations (requiring the meeting to be held between certain hours of the workday) and a person with a mobility disability (who may be concerned about location, accessibility, and walking distance requirement). As part of the research stage, you will want to gather relevant qualitative and quantitative data to identify all the populations or groups targeted by the project along with describing and measuring the possible impact of the project. This is where using gender disaggregated data is crucial as it situates diverse population groups in their social and economic contexts and shows relations to other groups of men and women. An example of this could be data broken down by age, race, ethnicity, income, education, etc. The following analysis will then enable you to discern if there are differential impacts on various groups of people, explore the potential consequences and consider recommendations to mitigate potential negative consequences.  

As a consortium it is important to us to acknowledge and better understand the various intersecting identity factors that may influence whether a project such as PREPARE has a positive or negative impact on its intended beneficiaries – vulnerable children. PREPARE acknowledges that being gender-blind or not considering additional intersecting characteristics enables inequalities to persist. The advantage of GBA+ is that it can be easily used by everyone involved in a project such as PREPARE; starting with identifying and questioning your own potential biases, gathering disaggregated data, and consulting external experts to better understand the impacts of your work. 

Author: Trilateral Research