New Perspectives on Gender, Diversity, and Health Policy, Planning, and Services

The primary methods for identifying and responding to differences between men and women in the health context are gender-based and gender-sex-based analyses (GBA/GSBA). While these approaches are intended to consider diversity within each group, they do not always capture how gender interacts with other factors such as race/ethnicity, socio-economic status, sexual orientation, geography, ability and age. Not taking these factors into account in health planning, implementation and research can result in real economic and human costs for health care consumers. These include lost opportunities, ill health, suffering and perhaps overall, an ineffective and inequitable health care system. A key challenge facing researchers and policy makers is how to move beyond singular variables (e.g. gender) to understand the complex dynamics at play between gender and health. Dr. Olena Hankivsky is examining how GBA and GSBA are applied in health planning, services and policy in Canada, Sweden, the UK, Australia and the Ukraine. She is exploring innovative improvements for analyzing gender and diversity in a health context. In particular, Hankivsky is conducting a gender and diversity analysis of the most recent health reform initiative in British Columbia — The Conversation on Health. The findings could contribute to developing policy tools and interventions that will improve the effectiveness and efficiency of health services and programs for vulnerable and marginalized populations in BC, Canada, and internationally.