Celebrating International Men’s Day can be seen as a controversial act. Yesterday someone said to me ‘surely everyday is men’s day’. This perspective is not unusual, many people will be left wondering why men need a special day, when every day could be considered male. These types of official days tend to acknowledge and celebrate the ‘underdog’, and so this celebration may split opinion.
As the founder of Work Life Mother which supports both women and men back to work after parental leave. I’m absolutely passionate that we should all celebrate International Men’s Day (IMD). If I’m asking men to advocate on behalf of women then I have to ask women to champion men.
IMD is not new, it’s been celebrated on 19th November annually for 20 years and is about highlighting and getting closer to tackling the systemic issues that let down these genders.
Such as male suicide rates; according to World Health Organization (WHO) data, suicide is the biggest killer of men under the age of forty-five. In term of statistics it seems that more women are diagnosed with depression more often than men but that men are 3 times more likely to commit suicide.
IMD is also a chance to recognise men’s positive contributions to society including family and childcare. The benefits when we challenge outdated gender stereotypes and celebrate men taking parental leave are far reaching. We should be encouraging men as they take time away from their job for parental leave, work flexibly and prioritise their home life.
The pluses include:
Strengthened relationships with their partner
A solid foundation for more equitable distribution of household responsibilities
Lifelong bonds with their children
Supporting female careers and progression in the workplace
Without creating the right environment to enable men to speak up about their feelings, personal needs and mental health we will continue to stifle progress in these areas. Which is why I shall be observing IMD 2022 to create awareness on gender relations and promote gender equality.
Will you also be helping to create a better and safer world where everyone can thrive to their full potential?
For inspiring male role models to follow I highly recommend:
Han-Son Lee - Author, Founder and CEO of Daddilife a parenting platform for men
Elliot Rae - Men's mental health and redefining masculinity
Ian Dinwiddy - Driving wellbeing and gender equality at work