International Men's Day
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International Men's Day
International Men's Day (IMD) is an annual international event celebrated on 19th of November. Inaugurated in 1999 in Trinidad and Tobago, the day and its events find support from a variety of individuals and groups in Australia, the Caribbean, North America, Asia, Europe, Africa, and the United Nations.
Speaking on behalf of UNESCO, Director of Women and Culture of Peace Ingeborg Breines said of IMD, “This is an excellent idea and would give some gender balance.” She added that UNESCO was looking forward to cooperating with IMD organizers.
The objectives of celebrating an International Men's Day include focusing on men's and boy's health, improving gender relations, promoting gender equality, and highlighting positive male role models. It is an occasion to highlight discrimination against men and boys and to celebrate their achievements and contributions, in particular for their contributions to community, family, marriage, and child care.
International Men's Day is celebrated in Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Australia, India, United States, Singapore, Malta, South Africa, Hungary, Ireland, Ghana, Canada, Denmark, France, and Grenada on November 19, and global support for the celebration is broad.
International Men's Day symbol
Calls for an International Men's Day have been noted since at least the 1960s when it was reported that "many men have been agitating privately to make Feb 23 International Men's Day, the equivalent of March 8, which is International Women's day" In the early 1990s, organizations in the United States, Australia and Malta held small events in February at the invitation of Professor Thomas Oaster who directed the Missouri Center for Men's Studies at the University of Missouri–Kansas City. Oaster successfully promoted the event in 1994, but his following attempt in 1995 was poorly attended and he ceased plans to continue the event in subsequent years. Whilst the Australians also ceased to observe the event again until November 19, 2003, only the Maltese Association for Men's Rights continued to observe the event each year in February. As the only remaining country still observing the earlier February celebration, the Maltese AMR Committee voted in 2009 to shift the date of their observation to November 19 in synchrony with all other countries celebrating on a single date.
Trinidad and Tobago
Citizens in Trinidad and Tobago were the first to observe IMD on November 19, 1999. The event was conceived and coordinated by Dr. Jerome Teelucksingh from the University of West Indies at the Families in Action headquarters in Newtown, Port of Spain. As his rationale for creating the event Teelucksingh stated, "I realized there was no day for men... some have said that there is Father's Day, but what about young boys, teenagers and men who are not fathers?" Dr. Teelucksingh, understanding the importance of celebrating good male role models, felt that his own father had been an example of an excellent role model and so chose November 19 partly because this was his father's birthday, and also because it was the date on which a local sporting team in his country created a level of unity which transcended gender, religious and ethnic divisions. In following years the event was jointly coordinated by Dr. Teelucksingh and Harrack Balramsingh, Chairman of Citizens for a Better Trinidad and Tobago (CBTT). The idea of celebrating an International Men's Day received written support from U.N. officials in UNESCO and the event has continued to be celebrated annually in Trinidad and Tobago and other countries since its beginning.
Jamaicans held an inaugural IMD observation on November 19, 2001, with a church service at Northgate Family Church in Ocho Rios, an educational session with male students at Ferncourt High School, and public forum at Brown's Town Community College. Keynote speaker at the event was Luciano who talked on the theme of 'Today's Man, Tomorrow's Future'. A special theme of the event was discussions on men's sexual health and reproduction. Nurse Bunnaman of the Beth Jacobs Family Planning Clinic in St. Ann's Bay told The Star Newspaper "This is the first time that Jamaica will be observing International Men's Day. It was started in Trinidad in 1999. This year it will be observed in Kenya, Tanzania, Norway, Brazil, Germany, Britain and the United States of America as well". Educational sessions about men's sexual health and reproduction were held the Beth Jacobs Clinic, where medical check-ups and testicular checks were given free of charge.
Australians have celebrated IMD on November 19 since 2003, when Phil Gouldson of Men's Health and Wellbeing Association ACT (MHWA) launched the inaugural event after receiving an invitation by Trinidad and Tobago's Harrack Balramsingh to join in the event. In Canberra, 2004, Mr. Gouldson asked men in Australia to wear a red rose for IMD and for women and families to buy the men in their life flowers. He said a red rose is worn by men on IMD as a symbol of strength of character and courage, and as it is unusual to see men being given flowers so it is a good way to highlight the occasion. In 2004, Michael Flood, a pro-feminist academic criticized the basis of the 'Mens Health and Wellbeing Association' (MHWA)'s IMD celebration which focused on men's health, arguing that there were already enough opportunities to work on men's health and fatherhood (citing Father's Day and Men's Health Week). Mr. Gouldson responded, reminding that "Not all men and boys are fathers, while Men’s Health Week focuses on claimed inadequacies of men in not better managing their health."  Dr. Teelucksingh independently highlighted the need to address the needs of young boys, teenagers and men who are not fathers, which was one of his primary purposes for establishing International Men's Day.
In 2008 Dads4Kids Organization highlighted the theme 'honour and sacrifice', pointing to the sinking of the cruiser HMAS Sydney on November 19 during the Second World War and resulting in the largest loss of life in battle on any one day with the death of 645 men off the coast of Geraldton in Western Australia. Organisers suggested the ability to sacrifice one's needs on behalf of others is fundamental to manhood and therefore to International Men's Day: "men make sacrifices everyday in their place of work, in their role as husbands and fathers, for their families, for their friends, for their communities and for their nation."
In 2009, a number of events were held throughout Australia including IMD initiatives organized by four local governments: Maitland City Council in N.S.W., Greater Hume Shire Council in Victoria, Ipswich City Council in Queensland, and Forbes Shire Council in N.S.W. each of whom funded local observations. These were the first government bodies in Australia to fund and host community IMD events. In the State Parliament of Western Australia Minister Nick Goiran gave a speech introducing International Men's Day and its objectives to the parliament, focussing on the promotion of gender equality and the importance of highlighting positive male role models. There was also an event held in the Federal Australian Parliament House with several notable speakers. Numerous other organisations hosted observations including the Men's Shed Steering Committee in Rockhampton, the Community Resource center in Ulladulla, the Regional Health Service in KooWeeRup, and Dads On The Air radio programme in Sydney which hosted an hour-long programme discussing IMD with a panel of international coordinators of the event.
Indian Men's rights organization Save Indian Family has joined in with an inaugural celebration of IMD on November 19, 2007. As a first step it accepted November 19 as (Indian) International Men's Day based on the fact that cricket rivals Australians and West Indies (Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago) were already doing it. The event was again celebrated in India in 2008, and plans have been made to continue the celebration annually.
In 2009, India received the first corporate sponsorship of the International Men's Day with menswear brand Alan Solly deciding to create promotional offers on IMD, and HBO deciding to screen male-positive movies in its "Men are Back" series on November 19.
In 2001, a number of organizations in the United States joined in celebrating IMD on November 19. In 2008, International Men’s Day was supported by the Malachi Global Foundation (MGF) in Michigan. U.S. author and speaker on men's issues Diane Sears states that Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address on November 19, 1863 in which he called for the honoring and remembrance of the contributions of the men who sacrificed their lives during America’s Civil War.
In the United Kingdom the event was inaugurated in 2008 by University of Kent students who celebrated International Men's Day at Mungos Bistro on the university campus on November 19. This event was organized and coordinated by the Kent University student organization 'Raise and Give' (or RAG as it is better known). RAG is Kent Union's charitable arm located in the Student Activities Center which raises money for various charities each year. Activities for IMD night included live soccer coverage of England v Germany, comedy acts and live music from student band "Clacket Lane". There was a raffle, a guitar hero competition and an Xbox tournament to raise money. About 300 people attended with roughly equal numbers of males and females. All proceeds raised went to ORCHID a charity for all male cancers, including prostate, penile or testicular cancer. In November 2010 the Brighton Men's Network organised an IMD conference event for the city of Brighton for professionals, experts and people interested in helping the city in improving services for men and boys. Chair of the Men's Network Glen Poole stated that public sector bosses, the voluntary sector, business leaders and concerned individuals will come together and explore how to help all men and boys live more fulfilled lives and make a bigger contribution to the city, and concluded, "This event will be an important step towards getting people to agree on the actions we need to take and help us develop the world’s first citywide strategy for men and boys that we aim to launch next year."
In 2008, a November 19–21 IMD event was organized in Singapore. The Adam Association organized a forum - Definition of a Man- which identified various problems men face at home such as communication issues, and how to overcome them. Held in Malay, speakers included Dr Maliki Osman, Parliamentary Secretary for National Development, and staff members from the Registry of Marriages. The forum was open to the public for free and was held at the Darussalam mosque along Commonwealth Avenue West. Another event, also part of International Men's Day, was the Admiralty Baby Genius and Kids' Fashion contest, held on Sunday at Woodlands. Jointly organized by Adam Association and Ace the Place Community Club Management Committee, activities included a diaper-changing contest for fathers.
In 2009 the National Family Council launched the Dads for Life movement to support a man's role in co-parenting. As part of the event volunteers distributed men's 'toolkits' at more than 30 locations to mark International Men's Day.
International Men's Day has been celebrated in Malta by the Association for Men's Rights since 1994. AMR founder and director Dr. John Zammit conceived the event which has been held yearly in the form of a dinner, lunch or reception for AMR members and public. On this occasion awards are given to individuals who have made distinctive contributions men's rights such as, for example, efforts made by committee members, "for the removal of the impediment of departure which we had on men in separation/divorce cases. Before 1995 all men who had problems with their wives in Malta, be it Maltese or foreigners, could not leave the island while their case was still in court and so were imprisoned in Malta." The Malta event has traditionally been observed on February 7 since 1994, making it the longest running local IMD observation in the world. As the February date is not celebrated by other participating countries and did not qualify as an internationally observed date, discussions were undertaken within the Maltese Association for Men's Rights, and on January 17, 2009, the committee voted unanimously to shift their celebrations to November 19 to coincide with all the others around the world.
Positive Men’s Movement of South Africa (POMESA) in partnership with South African Network of People Living with HIV and AIDS (NAPWA) organized the first Annual International Men’s Day event. The event was held on the December 6, 2008, and involved a Men’s March for peace and justice from taxi rank to the national men's rally venue which is Rabasotho hall in Thembisa township, Ekurhuleni, Gauteng. Between three and five thousand men attended from all provinces of the South Africa. Speakers in the event included the national government officials, national leadership of POMESA and NAPWA, and civil society, and included an Annual Men’s Awards event to honor three outstanding men who have or and continue to contribute positively in the creation of peaceful and just society.
In 2008, POMESA and NAPWA celebrated IMD on the December 6. As the December date was not celebrated by other participating countries, discussions were undertaken within both organizations and in May 2009 the Secretary General of NAPWA and POMESA Nkululeko Nxesi announced that the National Boards of both organizations have agreed to celebrate the Men's day on the same dates with other countries beginning on November 19, 2009 and in each year thereafter on the same date.
On November 19, 2009 five thousand men from across Africa converged on the Orlando Communal Hall in Soweto to celebrate the second annual International Men's Day, where they promoted gender equality, positive male role models and emphasised that ‘not all men are bad people’. Deputy President of South Africa Kgalema Motlanthe delivered the keynote address at what was termed "a ground-breaking event". The meeting was organized and led by the National Association of People Living With HIV and AIDS (NAPWA) to highlight the need for treatment access to medication and prevention.
In November 2009, writer Marie Clarence organized the inaugural IMD celebration for Hungary. Clarence organized the event to promote gender balance and gender equity. The celebration was held in Budapest and the UNESCO Cultural Committee Chairman of Hungary Dr. Michael Hoppal gave the opening speech. The event included celebration of local culture, including dancing and forum discussions which highlighted men's achievements and contributions to the world.
Ghana Fatherhood Initiative Foundation hosted an inaugral IMD celebration in 2009. The occasion was marked by a formal event with speakers, and included a cerermony of donating of books to several schools in the Ablekuma sub-district in Accra. The event was chaired by Mr.George Odame, the advisory board chairman of Ghana Fatherhood Initiative Foundation, who encouraged all fathers to read to their children as part of responsible fathehood. The special guest of honour was Maxwell Mac.Ocloo who delivered a speech entitled 'Men - let us be instruments of positive influence' in which he encouraged men to lead by example.
To Celebrate International Men's Day on Thursday 19 November 2009, Irish broadcaster Newstalk devoted a day-long show to men. The show was hosted by Tom Dunne and was Ireland's first ever observation of the event. Topics included discussion of how 'Men Sheds' contribite to improving men's health, and of their popularity in Ireland.
On November 19, 2009, directors of the Vancouver Manology Programme held an all day event to mark the beginning of the Vancouver Men's Centre. As a feature of this event organizers announced their official endorsement of International Men's Day and held forums introducing attendees to the history, goals and values of the international event, including discussions toward planning larger IMD events in 2010. This marks the first Canadian Nov 19 IMD observation. In 2010 Canada IMD Coordinator David Hatfield organized a large event at the Roundhouse in Vancouver for numerous male and family-friendly organizations to display their social work to the general public. Entertainment and various speakers were included. The Council of the Corporation of the City of Oshawa issued a 2010 Proclamation that November 19 be designated Oshawa International Men's Day with the Proclamation, "And further take notice and let it be known that the Council of the Corporation of the City of Oshawa hereby urges all citizens to take cognizance of this event and fittingly join in its observance".
Men in Denmark have formed a group which plans to hold their own International Men's Day celebration on 19 November 2010. The group's spokesman Martin Pavón said that IMD is not a political counterpart of Women's Day, nor in opposition to women. He stated, "We want to take this opportunity to promote everyday ordinary men who live clean and honest lives and contribute positively to society."
In France Discovery Channel launched a moustache-growing competition for 2010 International Men's Day, with prizes given to the winners on November 19. The competition winners are decided by popular public vote.
In 2010 during Plenary of the Thirty-Fifth assembly of the Inter-American Commission of Women (CIM), Ambassador Gillian Bristol presented a national report reiterating Grenada's commitment to gender equality and it's decision to celebrate International Men's Day with various activities which include an address to the nation by Prime Minister Hon. Tillman Thomas on November 19, 2010.
According to its creators, International Men’s Day is a time to highlight discrimination against men and boys in areas of health, family law, education, media or other areas and to project their positive contributions and achievements. During past years the method of commemorating International Men's Day included public seminars, classroom activities at schools, radio and television programs, peaceful displays and marches, debates, panel discussions, and art displays. The manner of observing this annual day is optional, and any appropriate forums can be used. Early pioneers of IMD reminded that the day is not intended to compete against International Women's Day, but is for the purpose of highlighting men's experiences. Each year a secondary theme/s is suggested, such as peace in 2002, men’s health in 2003, healing and forgiveness in 2007, or positive male role models in 2009, although it is not compulsory to adopt these themes and participants are welcome to come up with their own to suit their needs and local concerns. In 2009 the following broad objectives were ratified as a basis for all International Men’s Day observations:
· To promote positive male role models; not just movie stars and sports men 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 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; where people can be safe and grow to reach their full potential
According to Mens Activism News Network, International Men's Day also interfaces with "Movember" - a worldwide moustache growing charity event held during November each year that raises funds and awareness for men's health, one of the key themes promoted on IMD. It also interfaces with Universal Children's Day on November 20 and forms a 48 hour celebration firstly of men, then children respectively, with a recognition of the bonds between them.
- International Women's Day
- Father's Day
- Men's World Day (An awards ceremony - November 1, Russia)
- Men's rights
This page was last modified on 19 November 2010 at 16:22.
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