Sex‑ and Gender‑Based Analysis

Advancing the status of all women and girls

ACEWH has been at the forefront of developing innovative resources and learning opportunities to encourage and support efforts to understand and apply sex- and gender-based (SGBA) in policy, planning and research.

Ending gender discrimination

Gender-based analysis (GBA) began in the 1950s and 1960s as women and women's organizations, largely in the developed world, sought to advance women's status by challenging assumptions that sex—the biology of being female or male, was a defining characteristic of identity and/or ability.

They argued instead that gender—the social norms, roles and expectations assigned to males and females, was at the root of widespread disadvantages and discrimination experienced by women and girls.

GBA was designed to shift attention from sex to gender, on the grounds that while sex might not be changeable, understanding of gender could be transformed to empower women and girls. These same arguments emerged in the international discourse in the 1970s and afterward, with the introduction of the "Women in Development" and "Gender in Development" approaches that aimed to improve women's status globally.

Sex, gender and diversity

Since the 1990s, GBA has evolved into a more sophisticated framework, referred to as sex- and gender-based analysis (SGBA). SGBA includes an understanding that sex and gender are not fixed categories. Female and male, masculine and feminine are neither opposites nor mutually exclusive identities and experiences.

SGBA also involves an appreciation that sex and gender intersect with culture, socio-economic status and other forms of diversity to shape individual identity as well as personal and social experiences. Sex, gender and diversity together exert a profound influence on mental and physical health as well as social, economic and political well-being.

Equity for all

The main goal of SGBA, like that of GBA, is equity for all. All of The Atlantic Centre of Excellence for Women's Health's (ACEWH) work has been informed by SGBA. Whether we were engaging in research, providing technical expertise to policy makers, facilitating meetings or designing and delivering curriculum, we applied the core concepts of SGBA—sex, gender, diversity and equity, to support the development of research, policy and practice that is relevant and appropriate for diverse populations of women and girls and that advances the status of all women and girls.