The lexicon of mainstreaming equality: Gender Based Analysis (GBA), Gender and Diversity Analysis (GDA) and Intersectionality Based Analysis (IBA)

Olena Hankivsky


In the last 15 years, much debate has ensued at the international level regarding gender mainstreaming (GM), its efficacy and future utility. In Canada, similar discussions have taken place where GM has largely been operationalized in the form of gender-based analysis (GBA). However, there has been a lack of clarity regarding the ways in which GBA as a conceptual framework compares to other approaches available for working towards equality in public policy, namely gender and diversity analysis (GDA) and intersectionality-based analysis (IBA). As a result, the potential of these models to respond to diversity and inequality, especially GBA and GDA, are often overstated and/or conflated. The purpose of this paper is to elucidate the similarities and differences between GBA, GDA, and IBA. This analysis illuminates the strengths and limitations of these types of approaches, especially in terms of how each conceptualizes and is able to address a wide variety of diversities among the Canadian population. This paper argues that only IBA is flexible enough to capture the multidimensional nature of oppression and discrimination because it disrupts the systematic prioritization of gender as a starting place for assessing experiences of inequality.


Gender-based analysis; gender and diversity based analysis; intersectionality-based analysis; public policy

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@Canadian Political Science Review (CPSR). ISSN 1911-4125