Importance of GBA+ and Data
Description: Using examples, Dr. Cara Tannenbaum demonstrates sex and gender data differences and explores how to effectively use data to find explanations for these differences.
Date: June 9, 2020
[An image of the GBA+ logo appears with the words "Gender-Based Analysis Plus"]
[A background with colourful bars appears with the title "Introduction to GBA+". The sub-title "Sex and Gender Differences" appears on the screen.]
[DR. CARA TANNENBAUM seated in her office, speaks to the camera. A colourful GBA+ symbol appears at the bottom left corner of the frame and her name (Dr. Cara Tannenbaum) and job title (Scientific Director, Institute of Gender and Health, Canadian Institutes of Health Research [CIHR]) appear to the right of the GBA+ symbol.]
What we do at the Institute of Gender and Health, is we use SGBA+.
[A green bar first appears on screen with the words "Sex and Gender", followed by a series of other colourful bars in the shape of a flower and featuring the words: Education, Sexual Orientation, Income, Culture, Geography, Language, Religion, Age, Ability, Ethnicity. These all rotate clockwise.]
So we look at the sex biological factors, we look at the gender-based factors, and then we look at the intersectional factors—which is what the plus stands for—so income, race, religions, you know all the other plus factors. And we look at data and we try to generate evidence that take these factors into consideration to try to explain phenomenon. So while we might do it in health research—looking at a cure for cancer and whether cancer is expressed differently in males and females—for people who are writing policy and who are developing regulations or legislation or policy, the point of approaching things through a sex-and-gender-based-analysis-plus lens is to be able to look at phenomenon and data and to say, "well, do they differ based on these factors?"
[A map of Canada indicating by region the number of deaths in 2019, from January to March. British Columbia has the highest death rate per 100,000 population. There is a sentence that says "1,082 apparent opioid-related deaths" and another sentence that says "death rate of 11.6 per 100,00 population". Underneath is listed the following URL: https://health-infobase.canada.ca/substance-related-harms/opioids/]
So at least in the biomedical world, if I took, you know, the opioid crisis and I looked at the data, then I would see that women are actually hospitalized more frequently than men for accidental opioid overdose, but men are more likely to die because of the overdose.
[A pair of bar graphs appear to compare hospitalization and death rates between women and men. The bar graphs show that the hospitalization rate for women is higher than the hospitalization rate for men, and the death rate for women is lower than the death rate for men.]
[The words "Sex Difference" appear on the screen in capitalized black letters, and underneath the word" Why?" appears on the screen in capitalized black letters.]
So right away, I'd say, "Well, that's a sex difference." If I would ask myself. "Well, why?" The "why are women hospitalized more frequently, but men die more?" Then that's when I'm getting into the mechanisms; and, in fact, even though I see a sex difference in the data, it may be a gendered reason why we see this difference.
[A silhouette of a woman appears on the left of the screen. To the right the following words appear, one by one: "Sleeping pills"; "Anxiety drugs"; "Why?"]
So it turns out, in fact, that women also take more sleeping pills than men—more anxiety drugs. We call those sedative hypnotics. Why do women take that? Well, this brings us back historically to the 1960s when even the Rolling Stones sort of sang songs about 'Mother's Little Helper' and how women were supposed to be calm, cool and collected when their husbands came home from work.
[An image of a black and white 1960s magazine advertisement for medication appears on the screen. The advertisement shows a woman holding a baby with the tagline, "when you're weary with day-time fatigue".]
[An image appears of a black and white 1960s magazine advertisement for medication of a woman standing over a breakfast plate with the tagline, "Now she can cook breakfast again...when you prescribe new".]
[An image appears of a black and white 1960s magazine advertisement of a woman sitting behind mops and brooms with the tagline, "You can't set her free. But you can help her feel less anxious".]
[An image appears of a black and white photo of a woman smoking a cigarette and standing in front of a drug store window looking at an advertisement that reads "Be Serene: A Tranquilizer Ad".]
So this was very much a gendered perception and in fact women were encouraged—there's even ads from the 1960—about taking a tranquilizer. And a lot of women today have continued with the perception, and also the expectation, I would guess.
[A black silhouette image representing a woman talking to a therapist appears on the screen. The image shoes a woman sitting in a chair and talking to another woman who is sitting at a desk with a laptop and writing.]
And maybe they're prescribed anxiety drugs and sleeping pills more because it's "okay" for women to talk about their anxiety and depression and problems sleeping more than men. That has nothing to do with sex: we know that men get just as stressed out as women do.
[A bar graph appears on the screen. The graph shows the number of suicides in Canada from 2000 to 2017, a comparison between males and females. The graph shows that the number of male deaths by suicide from 2000 to 2017 is consistently over 2000 deaths, while the number of female deaths by suicide from 2000 to 2017 is consistently below 1000 deaths. The following appears below the graph: "Statistics Canada, Deaths by Intentional Self-Harm by Sex, 2000 to 2017."]
In fact, if you look at the data, you find out that men are more likely to complete suicide than women. So you can't convince me that men are less stressed or less depressed than women. It's just that, from a gender perspective, society has enabled—even encouraged, quite frankly—women to express this, and sometimes even to have chemical coping because of it.
[A background with colourful bars appears with the title "Using the Data".]
So we're seeing women come into hospital where they have combined prescriptions, leading to the accidental overdoses. So although the data show you the sex, the ‘why' is really about gender, and the whole point of gender-based analysis plus is to use the data, look for an explanation, and then make a policy recommendation to fix the discrepancies.
[A background with colourful bars appears with the words "Data + Explanation = Policy Recommendations [fix discrepancies] = policies & programs benefiting everyone". These words transform into "GBA+ benefiting everyone".]
And make sure that we put in place policies and programs that benefit everybody.
[DR. CARA TANNENBAUM cuts out and a background with colourful bars appears and then disappears, and the Government of Canada logo appears.]