About International Men’s Day
International Men’s Day (IMD) is an annual international event celebrated on November 19. 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 over 50 countries, including Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Australia, India, China, United States, Singapore, Malta, United Kingdom, South Africa, Moldova, Hungary, Ireland, Ghana, Canada, Denmark, Austria, France, Pakistan, Antigua and Barbuda, St. Kitts and Nevis, Grenada and Italy, on November 19, and global support for the celebration is broad.
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 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 Nov 20 and forms a 48 hour celebration firstly of men, then children respectively, with a recognition of the bonds between them.