People across the world are observing International Men's Day on Thursday to recognize the positive impact of men on society, to focus on men's health and wellbeing issues, and to improve gender relations.
But the unsung event is not being celebrated in the way people celebrate the women's day. It has apparently failed to attract that much familiarity across the globe. Even some people wonder "Is there really a day dedicated to men?"
This is an attempt to present pros and cons of the day.
When was the day introduced?
This year marks 28 years since the first International Men's Day was celebrated in Malta, and 21 years since the project was reinitialised in Trinidad and Tobago, according to a The Telegraph report.
On 8 March each year when the countries observe International Women Day , questions get asked again and again on online platforms, namely "Is there an International Men's Day?' and 'when is it?"
This is because that a certain group of men just can't handle the focus not being on them. And there is no fear for them of being disappointed as there is really a day for men.
The even better news is that the comedian Richard Herring takes it upon himself every year to spend International Women's Day answering those questions. Typically, his replies begin politely, grow ever more exasperated, and end in a torrent of fury.
History of International Men's Day
People across the world have been celebrating International Women's Day since 1911. Even the United Nations recongnised it in 1975.
By the Sixties, men started to feel left behind. In 1968 the US journalist John P Harris wrote about the lack of an equivalent day for men in the Salina Journal, saying: "This strikes me as unwarranted discrimination and rank injustice."
Strikingly, this is exactly the same argument made in the modern day whenever International Women's Day takes place suggesting that while men are quick to demand equality in this area, they have been slow to recognise that they've achieved it.
No large-scale event was successful for several decades; in the Nineties some events were held in the US, Australia and Europe however they failed to take off in the following years.
It wasn't until 1999 that the day began to take shape. Jerome Teelucksingh, a history lecturer at University of the West Indies in Trinidad and Tobago, organised events for International Men's Day, holding the day on his father's birthday.
Key issues of the day
The day has gone from strength to strength and now aims to address six key issues, which its organisers call 'the 6 Pillars of International Men's Day'. These are:
- To promote positive male role models; not just movie stars and sports men but every day, 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
This year's IMD theme
Each year a theme is assigned to the event. The theme for 2020 is the idea of "Better Health for Men and Boys". The International Men's Day website says the theme promotes "the need to value men and boys and help people make practical improvements in men and boy's health and well-being."
"The concept and themes of International Men's Day are designed to give hope to the depressed, faith to the lonely, comfort to the broken-hearted, transcend barriers, eliminate stereotypes and create a more caring humanit," it said.
In recent years International Men's Day has focused on the issues which affect men more than women, highlighting the areas where males are negatively impacted by the societal norms. Previous themes include "Celebrating Men And Boys In All Their Diversity", "Stop Male Suicide", "Keeping Men and Boys Safe".