International Men’s Day is celebrated on November 19 to raise awareness about the health of men and also to highlight their socio-economic, cultural, and political achievements.
International Men’s Day didn’t gain popularity abroad until Dr Jerome Teelucksingh, a Professor of History at the University of the West Indies established IMD in 1999. He chose November 19 as IMD to commemorate the birth anniversary of his father. He urged people to take advantage of this day by bringing up issues concerning boys and men.
Indian men’s advocate Uma Challa, a mother of two, has also made significant contributions to popularizing the day. She is the founder of several organizations and pioneered the celebration of International Men’s Day in India in 2007, despite being oblivious about the origin of the date. By observing the day, Ms Challa aimed at underlining the abuse faced by some men over the alleged bias.
As stereotypes and discrimination start to break down in our culture there is an emerging need for boys and young men to identify with positive role models that embody the true qualities of masculinity.
International Men’s Day encourages men to teach the boys in their lives the values, character and responsibilities of being a man. Mahatma Gandhi said, “We must become the change we seek.” It is only when we all, both men and women, lead by example that we will create a fair and safe society which allows everyone the opportunity to prosper.
The theme for this year is “Helping Men and Boys”. The day is celebrated by arranging seminars and conferences and organizing programmes to bring up the issues related to men.
It is aimed at ensuring good emotional, physical, social, and spiritual health of men. However, the day is not just about celebrating men but also improving gender relations and promoting gender equality.