Creation guide for a composite gender score

How do you indirectly measure gender in human research? Here is a guide to creating a composite gender score.


How do you indirectly measure gender in human research? The following is a guide for creating a composite gender score that corresponds to a method for creating a composite gender score after data collection when only sex assigned at birth has been measured.

  • It presents a method for creating a gender composite score using already available data.
  • It provides a stable score that is representative of people’s experience.
  • This score identifies differences and patterns not identifiable using gender alone.

The scientific literature and the general considerations of equity, diversity and inclusion addressed in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, Canada’s and Québec’s research funds are increasingly emphasizing the need to take sex and gender into account in research projects.


This document is part of a larger project that includes two tools for assessing the gender of people involved in health and other research projects (this guide for creating a composite gender score and a gender measurement questionnaire).


The guide, supported by the Unité de soutien SSA Québec, was designed in 2022 by:

  • Enzo Cipriani
  • Charles-Edouard Giguère
  • Eugénie Samson-Daoust
  • Ioana Cotocea
  • Robert-Paul Juster

Developed in partnership

These tools were developed in part in partnership with people of gender diversity during a summer internship. During the course of this internship, particular work was done to discuss the life experiences of people from diverse backgrounds as well as to develop a theoretical understanding of gender identity and its role in the lives of individuals. This was in order to include the views and perspectives directly affected by these considerations and to gain a deeper understanding of the individual experience of these people. This internship allowed one of the individuals involved to continue her university studies as a result of the experience she gained.

5 axis

This document is therefore constructed in 5 main areas:

  • What is sex and gender?
    • A quick presentation of the rational behind the concepts of sex and gender.
  • Why measure gender in human research?
    • A review of the literature to highlight the scientific support for this measure.
  • How to measure gender? A quick introduction to the concept of a composite gender index.
  • Presentation of the tools.
    • Detailed presentation of the method for creating a composite gender index using previously collected data.
  • Some preliminary results supporting the quality and contribution of the tools presented.
  • Equity, diversity, inclusion, sex and gender