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Sighting Gender Based Analysis: Phase II Of Invisible Women
W. E. Thurston, assist?de A. Eisener
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Centre d'excellence pour la sant?des femmes - région des Prairies
56, The Promenade
Winnipeg (Manitoba) R3B 3H9
Cette étude a ét?subventionnée par le Centre d'excellence pour la sant?des femmes - région des Prairies (CESFP). Le CESFP est financ?dans le cadre du Programme de contribution pour la sant?des femmes, lui-même administr?par le bureau pour la sant?des femmes et l'analyse comparative entre les sexes ?Sant?Canada. Les opinions exprimées ici ne reflètent pas nécessairement le point de vue du CESFP ni la politique officielle de Sant?Canada. 
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Sighting Gender Based Analysis: Phase II Of Invisible Women

Background

The Prairie Women's Health Centre of Excellence (PWHCE) is funded by the Bureau of Women's Health and Gender Analysis, Health Canada, to compile information, support research and develop policy advice which will enable the health system to become more responsive to women's health needs in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, partnering with other Centres of Excellence in a national program. In November 1999, the PWHCE released a research report entitled Invisible Women: Gender and Health Planning in Manitoba and Saskatchewan and Models for Progress, by Tammy Horne, Lissa Donner, and Wilfreda Thurston. The report was based on an analysis of community health needs assessments and health planning documents developed at the regional or district level, as well as interviews with representatives of health districts (Saskatchewan) and regional health authorities (Manitoba). Regionalization was relatively new when Invisible Women was commissioned. The documents and the interviews analyzed in this study revealed very little evidence of gender analysis being used to inform health planning at the regional or district level. Information on health needs was rarely disaggregated by sex, and consultations with women's groups were the exception rather than the rule. When women's health needs were identified, they were often focused somewhat narrowly on women's reproductive health or women's assumed responsibility for the health and care of their families. The research report also contained information about gender-sensitive health planning efforts in other jurisdictions, to provide models for regional health planners who want to find ways to incorporate gender analysis into their work.

The lack of attention to identifying and planning for women's health needs contradicts international, federal, and provincial commitments to employ gender-based analysis in public policies and programs. While both Saskatchewan Health and Manitoba Health now recognize gender as an important determinant of health, this recognition had not yet been reflected in practice though regional and district health planning processes.

From the beginning of Phase II, evaluation was considered an integral component to assess the usefulness of approaches taken to implement gender analysis in health planning. As the project progressed, and the prospect of having an intervention or project to evaluate diminished, the need to record the many challenges faced in the process of this project became apparent. This need became even more pressing in mid-winter of 2001/2002 when there was uncertainty over future funding for the Centres of Excellence. Rather than lose all opportunity to record the many challenges of this project, the PWHCE Executive Director, using funds set aside in the 2001/2002 fiscal year, commissioned this narrative.

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