Our Voices: A First Nations, Métis and Inuit Sex- and Gender-Based Analysis
Our Voices is a sex and gender-based analysis toolkit that is culturally appropriate and reflective of women’s health issues specific to First Nations, Métis, and Inuit in Canada. Our Voices enhances knowledge and supports a better understanding of Aboriginal women’s health issues by combining research on First Nations, Métis, and Inuit and storing these in one central location.
The toolkit includes reports, project summaries, case study analyses, and other examples of sex- and gender-based analysis (SGBA) as they have been applied to specific issues and groups or populations of Aboriginal peoples.
The purpose of the toolkit is to create a central online location that will support access to training on how to apply a three-stream (First Nations, Métis, Inuit) Aboriginal framework to the research on Aboriginal peoples. Housing this information in one central location increases the communication and dissemination of this information to various groups and individuals across Canada.
Our Voices supports a better understanding in women’s health by illustrating how a Aboriginal-specific sex- and gender-based analysis (ASGBA) can support better research, program planning, and policy making in terms of specific women’s health issues. First Nation, Métis, and Inuit women and organizations, governments, researchers, and health officials can access training and information on how to apply ASGBA to their work, thus, encouraging better analysis on women’s health issues.
By utilizing Our Voices, users will have increased awareness and understanding on the importance of gender when examining First Nations, Métis, and Inuit women’s health, and strengthen capacity in terms of applying SGBA to specific sub-populations. This will assist in moving toward closing the gap in health disparities experienced by First Nations, Métis, and Inuit women in Canada.
Health Canada continues to be invested in improving the lives of Canadians, including improving the health status of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples. The enhancement and implementation of sex and gender-based analysis has grown both domestically and internationally and Health Canada recognizes the importance of ensuring that SGBA includes specific components of cultural relevance to First Nations, Métis, and Inuit populations.
The process of developing a broader ASGBA provides a better understanding of Aboriginal women’s health and gender-health issues and allows for the incorporation of new knowledge gained through partnering with the Aboriginal communities.
Health Canada provided funding to conduct the Aboriginal Women and Girls’ Health Roundtable in April 2005. Significant health issues for First Nations, Métis, and Inuit women and gender-health issues were raised and a clear recommendation was made for the development of a gender analysis that incorporates three streams; First Nation, Métis, and Inuit. Health Canada has provided the support and direction for the development of the concepts of First Nation, Métis, and Inuit gender and health issues to be framed and outlined within current initiatives specific to Aboriginal health.
What is Aboriginal-Specific Sex- and Gender-Based Analysis (ASGBA)?
Aboriginal-specific SGBA (ASGBA) as outlined by the federal government, and Aboriginal organizations alike, is the inclusion of a cultural lens specific to the Aboriginal population within the context of gender analysis. ASGBA provides the ability to define issues of gender that differ between and within First Nations, Métis, and Inuit populations. It allows for the systematic analysis of research and data collection, as well as the development of policies, programs, and legislation from an Aboriginal context.
ASGBA allows one to go deeper into the social constructs of SGBA by outlining a three-stream approach to Aboriginal women’s health and defining issues that are specific to: 1) First Nations; 2) Métis; and 3) Inuit populations.
Incorporating ASGBA allows for better understanding and increased capacity to address the specific issues surrounding the health of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit. The development of an ASGBA framework and toolkit provides a method for analysing and developing policies, programs and legislation in addition to conducting research and data collection that reflects the lived experiences and health determinants impacting First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples in Canada.
Building Sex and Gender-Based Analysis Capacity in First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Populations.
Aboriginal peoples in Canada are not a homogeneous group. In fact, there are many distinctions between and amongst First Nations, Métis and Inuit populations in Canada. As a result, it is critical to examine Aboriginal women’s health within this context of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit using a GBA tool that incorporates sex, gender, and diversity as defined from a culturally-relevant perspective.
The ASGBA lens will encompass the unique cultural histories and perspectives of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit and highlight the significant differences between each group and also differences within the group(s). This is particularly relevant for First Nations both on- and off- reserve, as well as rural and urban populations. Our Voices illustrates how women’s health is affected by these various issues and within the cultural context of each specific group. The use of this lens will assist in ensuring that users learn about sex and gender-based analysis from a specific cultural perspective prior to accessing and interpreting data and documents, thereby gaining a better understanding of health data and the determinants of health as they apply to Aboriginal women’s health.