Introduction to GBA+
Description: Dr. Cara Tannenbaum explains the difference between sex and gender and uses examples to describe the various facets of gender, including gender norms, gender roles, gender identity, and gender relations.
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+"]
[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.]
My name is Cara Tannenbaum, and I'm the scientific director of the Institute of Gender and Health for the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. That's the Canadian government's national funding organization for health research in Canada.
[Graphic logo of CIHR IRSC appears on the screen to the right of DR. CARA TANNENBAUM.]
[Image appears of a report titled "Science is Better with Sex and Gender, Strategic Plan 2018-2023" by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Below the report title there is an image of a circle with various representative icons and images inside the circle, including one pink rat and one blue rat, an icon a brain, a martini glass, a glass of beer, a red high heel, a green boot, a blue dress shoe, a baby in utero, the symbol for female, a truck icon, and a DNA icon. The screen zooms in on the image of the circle with the icons and the outside of the circle begins to spin clockwise.]
The Institute of Gender and Health—our mandate is really to produce knowledge on the influence that sex and gender have on health and disease, and then help apply the findings to improve the health of men, boys, girls, women, and gender diverse people in Canada.
[A background with colourful bars appears with the title "Defining Sex & Gender".]
Canada has its GBA+ policy, Gender-based Analysis Plus.
[A green bar first appears on screen with the words Sex Intersectionality Gender (from right to left), followed by a series of other colourful bars in the shape of a flower and featuring the words: Education, Race, Sexual Orientation, Income, Culture, Geography, Religion, Age, Disability, Ethnicity.]
What a lot of people don't know is that within the health portfolio we actually call it SGBA+, and we differentiate the sex and gender-based analysis part of it. In biomedicine, medicine, and health sciences, there's a huge difference between sex and gender.
[Image appears on screen divided horizontally into two sections. The section on the left is titled "GENDER", and the section on the right is titled "SEX". The definition below the word "GENDER" states: "Socially-constructed roles, behaviours, expressions and identities of girls, women, boys, men and gender diverse people." Various representative icons are below: cocktails, shoes, graphic of people in different colours, globe, person with moustache in skirt and scales. The definition below the word "SEX" states: Biological attributes of humans and animals, including physical features, chromosomes, gene expression, hormones and anatomy." Various representative icons are below: cells, DNA strand, mice, male and female symbols, sperm, and baby in utero.]
[Image appears on screen with words "Sex: Biological attributes of humans and animals, including physical features, chromosomes, gene expression, hormones and anatomy." Various representative icons appear: cells, DNA strand, mice, male and female symbols, sperm, and baby in utero.]
When we talk about sex, we talk about the biological factors that make us who we are. So these are our genes, our anatomy, our physiology, and sex hormones. That's all related to sex. So whether I'm genetically XX for female, XY for male, something in between for intersex, that's all sex biological factors.
[Image appears on screen with words "Gender: Socially-constructed roles, behaviours, expressions and identities of girls, women, boys, men and gender diverse people." Various representative icons appear: cocktails, shoes, graphic of people in different colours, globe, person with moustache in skirt and scales. ]
When we talk about gender, it is a lot more complicated. Gender has many different dimensions. We could talk about gender roles and gender norms. We could talk about occupations being gendered, how women typically become nurses and we usually see men more in physics. It doesn't mean that based on their biological sex one is better for the job than somebody else. But because of society's expectation of what men and women should or could be doing, that would be a gender norm or a gender rule.
[Image of a silhouette of a pregnant women and a business man appear on the screen with the text "Gender Norm" written above.]
Caregiving is typically female. Historically, the man thought that they had to be the breadwinner. But today we know that gender is not really disaggregated by sex, what men and women should typically do. In fact, we know that there are many biologically female individuals who take on more of an assertive, bread-winning, "typically maybe" male gender role—although in this day and age we have our stay-at-home dads taking on the stereotypical female role. So that's why we talk about gender in terms of gender roles and gender norms.
[A bar graph appears on screen indicating the increase of "Stay-at-home fathers in Canada, as a proportion of families with a stay-at-home parent, by region and province, between 1976 and 2015". . In 1976 all provinces had under 2% of stay-at-home fathers; while in 2015 the average of stay-at-home fathers in Canada was over 10% (Atlantic provinces with the highest rates and Alberta with the lowest). ]
[On-screen text "Source: Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey, 1976 and 2015"]
Then there's a whole other component of gender, which is gender identity. And gender identity is how we self-identify.
[The words "Gender Identity" appear on the screen to the right of DR. CARA TANNENBAUM. The video cuts to a screen with the words "Gender Identity" and "How we self-identify"]
[A male symbol appears and slides to the left. A female symbol appears and slides to the right. An arrow extends out between the two symbols. In the middle a symbol representing various genders appears with the words below "Continuum of Gender".]
Whether we feel inside more masculine, more feminine, or it depends on the situation how I feel, in the middle, neither, or both.
We've heard the word transgender. Those are people who are identified by their biological sex as, let's say, female when they were born, so what was the sex assigned at birth. But as they grow into themselves, they realize that they feel more male, so they self-identify as male.
So it's "trans" because the way they feel doesn't match the sex they were assigned at birth.
We call people cisgender if they feel inside the way they self-identify as male/female according to the sex they were assigned at birth.
[The word "Cisgender" appears below the male and female symbols. The word "Transgender" appears below the transgender symbol.]
And then there's the third component of gender, which is more gender relations.
[The words "Gender Relations" appear on the screen to the right of DR. CARA TANNENBAUM. The video cuts to a screen with the words "Gender Relations" and an image of a pyramid icon below.]
That's about the power dynamics, about the institutionalization and hierarchy in the workplace, or the power dynamics at home or by the media. So you know the typical woman who needs to be skinny and pretty, and the model who walks down the runway. That's not what women look like at all.
[Screen splits vertically into two. On one side, a blue silhouette of a man appears surrounded by images of money, cars, TV remotes, tools and ties. On the other side, a pink silhouette of a women appears surrounded by images of scissors, ice cream, soother, shoes and rings.]
But we get the message from the media that that's the way a beautiful woman should look. So it's an institutionalized kind of perception of gender and has to do with gender relations and the way that plays out, which is different based on country, context, where you live, and what generation you're in.
[An image of a translucent globe appears to the right of DR. CARA TANNENBAUM and spins slowly and then disappears and the following words appear on the screen to the right of DR. CARA TANNENBAUM: "Silent Generation", "Baby Boomers", "Generation X", "Millennials", "iGen" and then disappear.]
If you're in Canada, if you're in a developing country, gender really takes on a lot of different meanings for a lot of people. So it can be confusing, yes.
[DR. CARA TANNENBAUM cuts out and a background with colourful bars appears and then disappears, and the Government of Canada logo appears.]