International Men's Day
International Men's Day (IMD) is an annual international event celebrated on 19 November. Inaugurated in 1992 on 7 February by Thomas Oaster, the project of International Men's Day was conceived one year earlier on 8 February 1991. The celebration was restarted in Trinidad and Tobago on November 19, 1999. The longest running celebration of International Men's Day is Malta, where events have occurred since 7 February 1994. In 2012 the United Nations designated November 19 as World Toilet Day.
Jerome Teelucksingh, who revived the event, chose 19 November to honour his father's birthday and also to celebrate 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 has promoted International Men's Day as not just a gendered day but a day where all issues affecting men and boys can be addressed. He has said of IMD and its grass roots activists, "They are striving for gender equality and patiently attempt to remove the negative images and the stigma associated with men in our society"
The objectives of celebrating an International Men's Day, set out in "The Six Pillars of International Men's Day", include focusing on men's and boys' health, improving gender relations, promoting gender equality, and highlighting 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. The broader and ultimate aim of the event is to promote basic humanitarian values.
International Men's Day is celebrated in over 80 countries, on 19 November, and global support for the celebration is broad. International Men's Day is followed by Universal Children's Day on 20 November, forming a 48-hour celebration of men and children, respectively. Additionally, the month of November is also occasionally recognized as International Men's Month. International Men's Day is supported by a variety of organisations including UNESCO.
International Men's Day has been celebrated in a variety of countries:
- Antigua and Barbuda
- Bosnia & Herzegovina
- Cayman Islands
- Isle of Man
- New Zealand
- South Africa
- St. Kitts and Nevis
- St. Lucia
- Trinidad & Tobago
- United Kingdom
- United States
According to its creators, International Men's Day is a time to promote positive aspects of male identity based on the premise that 'males of all ages respond more energetically to positive role models than they do to negative gender stereotyping'. 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, award ceremonies, 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. In 2009 the following broad objectives were ratified as a basis for all International Men's Day observations, and are applied equally to men and boys irrespective of their age, ability, social background, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, religious belief and Intimate relationship|relationship status:
- To promote positive male role models; not just movie stars and sportsmen 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 live free from harm and grow to reach their full potential
According to Men's 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 20 November and forms a 48-hour celebration firstly of men, then children respectively, with a recognition of the bonds between them.
- IMD Global Website – About IMD
- International Men's Day Global Website Archive 2005–2006
- Jerome Teelucksingh – 'International Men's Day', article in Transitions: A Journal of Men's Perspectives. Vol 27, No.4 p.11 (2007)
- Men's Activism News Network. Press Release Dec 2008