GIVING BOYS THE BEST POSSIBLE START IN LIFE: 2011 INTERNATIONAL MEN'S DAY
International Men’s Day is annually held on November 19 to improve gender relations and promote unity.
International Men’s Day is a time for many people to reflect on the contributions, sacrifices and progress made by men in society. Such progress includes that of men working together with women to make educational, economic, social, and technological advances in society. Topics that may be discussed or showcased through various media, activities and events on the day may include:
- Men’s and boys’ health;
- The importance of gender equality;
- Improvements towards gender relations in all societies;
- Positive male role models for younger generations;
- Men’s roles in community, family, relationships and childcare; and
- Healing and forgiveness.
Meetings, workshops or group gatherings may also be held on this day to focus on overcoming challenges such as domestic violence and drug abuse. International Men’s Day is supported by various organizations worldwide, including the United Nations (UN) and the Men's Network.
The good news is that together we can make a difference. They five key challenges that the International Men’s Day team suggest for focusing the collective minds of people who want to take action and give boys the best possible start in life are:
- HEALTH AND LIFE EXPECTANCY: Why are boys around the world more likely to die before the age of five and why do boys in every continent look forward to a much shorter life than girls? What are the reasons for boy’s higher likelihood of suicide? What action can we take to give boys the best possible start in life and help them live longer, happier, healthier lives?
- EDUCATIONAL FOCUS: Why are boys in richer countries underperforming girls and also less likely to be in education, and why are tens of millions of boys in poorer countries still not completing a primary education? How can we address truancy, and poor literacy rates which leave boys prone to adult unemployment, substance abuse, obesity, depression, and poverty? What action can we take to focus on boys’ education in a way that gives them the best possible start in life and closes the gaps between girls and boys and rich boys and poor boys?
- TOLERANCE OF VIOLENCE: Why are we so tolerant of violence and abuse against men and boys and why do we still tolerate a world where we send boys to fight the wars among adults? What actions can we take to help boys’ grow up free from violence and challenge our collective tolerance and support of violence against men and boys?
- RIGHTS TO FATHERHOOD: How can we give boys a right to family life that gives them an equal opportunity to know and experience both their father and mother and ensure that their role as a future father is equal to a girls role as future mother. What actions can we take to give every boy an equal right to fatherhood?
- REAL LIFE CHOICES: How can we make sure that every boy has opportunities to make a range of positive life choices in terms of work, family and leisure and reduce the number of boys whose life choices are limited and end up poor, illiterate, unemployed, homeless, imprisoned and isolated? What action can we make to help every boy get the best possible start in life and make a positive transition from boy to man that makes the world a better place for everyone?
To help respond to these challenges, the International Men’s Day team are inviting any government, organization, community or individual that wants to give boys the best possible start in life to take part in the biggest boys’ weekend ever on International Men’s Day (Saturday 19th November 2011) and Universal Children’s Day (Sunday 20th November 2011). If you have an idea for an event or a project that can help respond to one of the five challenges to give boys the best possible in start in life we encourage you to highlight it as part of International Men’s Day celebrations for 2011.
The inaugural International Men’s Day was held in Trinidad and Tobago on November 19 in 1999. Representatives from organizations such as the UN expressed support for the event, although it is not an official UN observance. A petition has called for the UN to make International Men’s Day an official UN observance in the interest of equality.
International Women’s Day is also celebrated on March 8 each year.