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Uma Challa, International Men's Day Coordinator for INDIA

Men and women across the world will be celebrating International Men’s Day on Thursday, 19 November 2009. International Men’s Day was celebrated for the first time in Trinidad and Tobago on 19 November 1999.

India celebrated International Men’s Day for the first time in the year 2007. This year, India celebrates International Men’s Day for the third time along with Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Australia, United States, Singapore, United Kingdom, Malta, South Africa, Georgia, New Zealand, Moldova, Germany, Holland and Brazil and other nations around the globe.

Men’s and fathers’ rights groups across the country are planning activities on International Men’s Day 2009 to recognize and honor the selfless sacrifices of men and to celebrate men’s invaluable contributions to families, communities, and society. On this occasion, bike and car rallies will be conducted in all major cities in the country like Hyderabad, Mumbai, Bangalore, Lucknow, Nagpur and Delhi, to reach out to the public and encourage them to celebrate this day.

International Men’s Day is a call for international collaboration to address the challenges and problems men face; for improving gender relations between men and women; for promoting gender equality; and for highlighting positive male role models.

Problems men face:

Every day, men face many of the same problems that women do. These include physical and emotional health issues, work related stress, financial difficulties, problems with family and relationships, and more serious problems like domestic violence, harassment at workplace and sexual abuse. In addition, they suffer legal harassment, financial abuse and forced separation from children through women-centric laws.

Men are conditioned to stifle their emotions and endure pain without complaining. Men hesitate to express themselves for the fear of being ridiculed or discredited. International Men’s Day is an occasion to remind ourselves that men are human, that they experience pain, emotions and tears, and that they deserve our love, care, protection and support every day.

Improving gender relations:

For the last several decades, governments across the world and society tacitly approved the propagation of anti-male sentiments, condoned the resultant diminution in value of men’s lives and supported blatant violation of men’s rights through discriminatory laws and policies, all in the name of women’s rights and empowerment.

This has resulted in a gender war, and led to a steep rise in divorce rates, number of fatherless children, violence against men and number of men ending their own lives. International Men’s Day is an occasion to remind everyone of the need to restore stability in the society by promoting harmony between men and women.

Promoting gender equality:

Women’s empowerment and gender equality are two oft-repeated phrases today. It is sad enough that there are many who take great pride in wearing these labels while remaining completely oblivious of their true import. What is worse is that radical women’s groups and vested interests have successfully subverted the real meaning and purpose of women’s empowerment and gender equality, and are promoting discrimination, injustice and serious human rights abuses in the name of gender equality.

Domestic and social harmony will prevail only when women AND men are ensured their rightful, honorable place within and outside the home. International Men’s Day is an occasion to commit ourselves to ensure true gender equality in the society and under law, so that gender relations are improved, litigations are reduced, legal terrorism and extortion through misuse of the law is eliminated, and our human and financial resources can be employed to ensure a better society for ourselves and future generations.

Highlighting positive male role models:

It is commonplace to idolize movie stars and athletes as role models everywhere in the world. While being overzealous about celebrating and honoring famous personalities, we tend to ignore that every day,

• Men render many services that make the society comfortable for everyone.
• Men make many contributions to science, technology and health of all.
• Men perform the most dangerous and difficult jobs in the world.
• Men take risks and die to save other lives during calamities and war.
• Men bring humor into our lives and make us laugh.

International Men’s Day is an occasion to highlight and promote positive role models in all walks of life. It is a day to remind ourselves to honor all men – academic achievers, social leaders, champions of the environment, artists, comedians, soldiers, farmers, fishermen, fire fighters, and those more humble males who, on a daily basis, clean our streets, build our houses, fix our vehicles, police our streets, deliver newspapers and milk, care for children, and dedicate themselves to others. It is a day to remember that we must celebrate all men in our lives – our fathers, brothers, partners, sons, male friends, neighbors and colleagues.

On this great and joyous occasion, we request all members of the print and electronic media to join us in spreading our message to the entire world.

Organizations observing International Men’s Day in India:

All India Forgotten Women, Andhra Pradesh Mothers-in-law Protection Association, Mothers and Sisters Initiative, Children’s Rights Initiative for Shared Parenting, All India Men’s Welfare Association, Gender Human Rights Society, Save Indian Family Foundation, Pati Parivar Kalyan Samiti, Save Family Foundation, Save Family Harmony Foundation, Bhavya Foundation, Rishtey, All India Mothers-in-law Protection Association and Hridaya Foundation.


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