Nevis Marks International Men’s Day 2019
November 19, 2019
Today November 19th is celebrated globally as International Men’s Day. This day provides an opportunity for us to celebrate the men in our lives irrespective of their socio-economic status, their cultural and religious beliefs or their sexual orientation.
It also provides us with an opportunity to appreciate the contribution they make in building our families, communities and our country. This year’s theme “Men Leading by Example,” encourages men to be positive role models. Leading by example means that their attitudes, actions and moral values are deemed positive examples for others to follow.
“Men Leading by Example” helps others, particularly our young boys, to build positive characters and inspire them to be the best that they can be. Some positive model behaviors that will inspire others to live meaningful lives include being honest, hardworking, compassionate, determined, respectful and responsible.
It also involves men speaking out against gender-based violence and teaching our young people about respecting their parents, senior citizens, women and girls. It is by their example that followers learn what behaviors are acceptable and what is not.
International Men’s Day, however, is not only a moment for us to celebrate. It is also an opportunity to consolidate. It allows us to consolidate our gains made in addressing the many challenges confronting men in our society and to examine those areas where we still need to invest further: areas such as men’s health and well-being, male victims of violence and those who resort to a life of violence, as well as the pressures and gender stereotypes which our boys face in and out of school.
On that note, International Men’s Day allows us to consider what it truly means to be a man. Does it require our men to be macho or does it require them to be mature? Does it require only boldness or does it often require compassion and benevolence? If our society is to be one where positive male role models abound, then we must teach our boys from an early age the values of sensitivity, empathy, compassion and respect. This will position them to become positive male role models in their own right.
The Gender Affairs Department within the Ministry of Health seeks to promote and advance gender equality thereby advocating for equal access and opportunities not only for women but for our men as well. Apart from focusing on issues that affect men’s health and wellness, and dismantling those rigid masculine gender stereotypes particularly in the workplace, we also take the time to highlight and celebrate the positive role models in our communities.
During the month long celebration the department seeks to engage men in a series of domino competitions. It will also host a seminar at the St. Paul’s Anglican Church Hall on Wednesday, 27th November.
The month long celebration climaxes with an awards dinner to celebrate those men who have and continue to make a positive contribution to the development of their families, their communities and their country.
Therefore, as we celebrate International Men’s Day 2019, I want to challenge all of you, to find your own unique and individual way to celebrate and uplift our men. Let us continue to encourage them and grant them the reassurance that we are all partners in the cause of making that positive difference in our society.
As Minister of Health and Gender Affairs, I take this opportunity to wish all our men a Happy International Men’s Day 2019.
Brief History of International Men’s Day
International Men’s Day (IMD) is an annual international event celebrated on 19 November. The objectives of celebrating an International Men’s Day are set out in “The Six Pillars of International Men’s Day”. It is an occasion to celebrate boys’ and men’s achievements and contributions, in particular for their contributions to country, society, community, neighborhood, family, marriage, and child care. The broader and ultimate aim of the event is to promote basic humanitarian values.
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 project was re-initialised in 1999 in Trinidad and Tobago. The longest running celebration of International Men’s Day is Malta, where events have occurred since 7 February 1994.
Jerome Teelucksingh, who revived the event, chose 19 November to honor 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 endeavors 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”.