Sunday 19th November will see the annual celebration of International Men's Day in the UK. We spoke to Men and Boys Coalition about the origins of the day and how everyone can get involved.
International Men’s Day (IMD) is an annual international event celebrated in over 80 countries including the UK on 19th November. It was inaugurated in 1999 in Trinidad and Tobago and has backing from UNESCO.
Since the start of the decade, the International Men’s Day in the UK has been marked by more and more women, men and organisations across the country. In fact in 2016, across the month of November there were over 60 events and celebrations from a Parliamentary debate to fundraising events, community events, business events, student events, political events, conferences, film launches and exhibitions - the most anywhere in the world! This year is shaping up to be better than ever. We are confident that 2017 will be even bigger and there are lots of events listed already.
The point of International Men’s Day is manifold. It gives people and organisations the opportunity to:
- Highlight some serious issues affecting men and boys and their well being
- Make a difference to men and boys’ lives
- Celebrate Britain’s men and boys in all their diversity
- Have some serious fun
Often the UK team are asked by organisations how they can be involved and what they should do. However, there is no specific way to get involved - it is very much free form. Organisations do not even have to stick to holding an event or celebration on 19th November if they want to mark the day, especially as it is Sunday this year.
Please look through the events calendar for what activities are taking place this year and how you can celebrate International Men's Day.
For many, they focus on holding events around the themes of how we can make a difference to men and boys, and, how we can give men and boys better life chances. This is based on addressing some of the issues that affect Men and Boys’ well being such as:
- The high male suicide rate
- The challenges faced by boys and men at all stages of education including attainment
- Men’s health, shorter life expectancy and workplace deaths
- The challenges faced by the most marginalised men and boys in society (for instance, homeless men, boys in care and the high rate of male deaths in custody)
- Male victims of violence, including sexual violence
- The challenges faced by men as parents, particularly new fathers and separated fathers
- Male victims and survivors of sexual abuse, rape, sexual exploitation, domestic abuse, forced marriage, honour-based crime, stalking and slavery
- The negative portrayal of men, boys and fathers.
This is just not about holding conferences or campaign events - it also includes fundraising events for men’s charities at a local level (men’s sheds and local prostate cancer charities, for example) or those at a national level.
While International Men’s Day is not formally connected to the Men and Boys Coalition which the Round Table supports as the latter, there is of course many similarities to a range of the issues. However, there is no single ownership of the Day which is gives it the freedom for everyone to celebrate it in the best way they see fit.
We hope Round Table’s across the UK are able to get involved or support any local events in their community. Tweet to @ukmensday and #internationalmensday this Sunday.
Join us in celebrating the role men and boys play in our society, highlighting the barriers they face and having some serious fun. For further information, contact the Men and Boys Coalition at firstname.lastname@example.org