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This year in 2022 International Men’s Day (IMD) falls on November 19th, but what exactly is this day all about, and why is it important to raise awareness for it? This global holiday celebrates recognising the range of cultural, political, and socioeconomic achievements of men. It is meant to be a time for celebrating boys’ and men’s lives, achievements and contributions, though the broader and ultimate aim of the day is to promote basic awareness regarding men’s issues.
Thomas Oaster inaugurated IMD on February 7th 1992, and after some time of little awareness it was revived in 1999 in Trinidad and Tobago by Jerome Teelucksingh. He was the one to choose November 19th for celebrating the occasion, both to honour his father’s birthday as well as how on that date in 1989, Trinidad and Tobago’s football team had united the country with their endeavours to qualify for the World Cup. Teelucksingh went on to promote International Men’s Day as not just a gendered day, but a day where all issues affecting men and boys can be addressed. He once stated that IMD activists “are striving for gender equality, and patiently attempt to remove the negative images and the stigma associated with men in our society.”
The main objectives of International Men’s Day include:
- To promote positive male role models – not just movie stars and sports players but everyday, working-class men living normal lives.
- To celebrate men’s positive contributions to society, community, family, marriage, child care and the environment.
- To focus on men’s health and wellbeing: social, emotional, physical, and spiritual.
- To highlight discrimination against men in areas of social services, social attitudes and expectations, and law.
- To improve gender relations and promote gender equality.
- To create a safer, better world.
As well as these six points, an optional secondary theme for IMD is usually suggested every year by the global coordinators – the themes for the past few years, and the chosen theme for this year, are as follows:
- 2009: Positive Male Role Models
- 2010: Our Children’s Future
- 2011: Giving Boys The Best Possible Start in Life
- 2012: Helping Men And Boys Live Longer, Happier And Healthier Lives
- 2013: Keeping Men And Boys Safe
- 2014: Working Together For Men and Boys
- 2015: Working To Expand Reproductive Options For Men
- 2016: Stop Male Suicide –the rate of suicide in men is higher than that of women, in some cases as high as six men for every one woman, and life expectancy is routinely less for men than women. Regarding this, Global Action on Men’s Health (GAMH) wants the World Health Organization to acknowledge and take action against the range of health issues facing men and boys, saying such work should sit alongside actions to improve the health of women and girls.
- 2017: Celebrating Men And Boys In All Their Diversity
- 2018: Positive Male Role Models
- 2019: Making a Difference for Men and Boys
- 2020: Better Health for Men and Boys
- 2021: Better Relations Between Men And Women
- 2022: Men Leading by Example
In summary, International Men’s Day is really about supporting all your male loved ones and making them feel that they can talk about whatever problems they may be facing in their lives. It is also about raising awareness and keeping conversations open about men’s issues, particularly regarding physical and mental health, so that the stigma around these topics can be overcome. This year especially, with the theme of “Men Leading By Example”, it’s important that men feel inspired by people who encourage open communication, love and equality, so that these values can grow and thrive in communities all across the world.