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International Men’s Day

International Men's Day
International Men's Day, Photo by Matheus Ferrero on Unsplash

Tomorrow, Friday 19th November is International Men’s Day. 

What? Do you mean, finally, a day to promote the rights of downtrodden men around the world? To recuperate the good old days when men could be real men, respected, listened to, and appreciated? Oh, do excuse me, the very thought brings a tear to my eye!

No, not quite.

It’s a day to promote positive role models and “attempt to remove the negative images and the stigma associated with men in our society.”

The day was first mooted in the 1960s as a response to International Women’s Day, which is celebrated on 8th March, and was founded in the USSR, eventually being adopted by the UN in 1975. Men had to wait until the 23rd February 1993 to have their day. Thomas Oaster organised events celebrating a day for men at the University of Missouri in Kansas City, USA. The celebrations were repeated in 1994, also taking place in Australia and Malta but were ill-attended the following year. Only the Maltese Association for Men’s Rights continued to recognise the day in February each year.

In 1999, Dr Jerome Teelucksingh of Trinidad and Tobago recognised the importance of celebrating positive male role models and inaugurated an International Men’s Day which received written support from UNESCO. He chose his father’s birthday on 19th November as he considered him to be one such role model. Jamaica followed in 2001, Australia in 2003, and India in 2007. In 2009 Malta moved its celebration day from February to 19th November.

Today International Men’s Day is celebrated in many countries around the world. Surprisingly, the United Nations does not recognise International Men’s Day. In 2013 the UN designated November 19th as “World Toilet Day,” aiming to raise awareness of the 2.5 billion people worldwide who do not have proper sanitation. 

Today’s news is full of atrocities often committed by men. To combat this barrage of negativity, one of the aims of International Men’s Day is to amplify the good stuff. To celebrate the positive values men bring to the world, their families and communities, and raise awareness of men’s wellbeing.

The core aims of the day are as follows:

  • To promote positive male role models, not just movie stars and athletes but everyday, working-class men who are living decent, honest lives.
  • To celebrate men’s positive contributions to society, community, family, marriage, child care, and to the environment.
  • To focus on men’s health and wellbeing; social, emotional, physical and spiritual.
  • To highlight discrimination against males; 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; where people can be safe and grow to reach their full potential.

One of these six pillars is to improve gender relations and promote gender equality for both men and women. The theme for 2021 is “Better relations between men and women.”

Who are your positive male role models? Send us your nomination(s). You can choose one, or you can send several! They can be your friends, colleagues, partners, husbands, fathers, sons, brothers, acquaintances, or famous personalities. If you still don’t have anyone to nominate, how about a fictional character? At the same time, you can also nominate negative role models, but please, don’t go too overboard here.

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