International Men's Day began on November 19th 1999 in Trinidad and Tobago and was supported by the United Nations. The event received wide support from men's groups in USA, Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean. Speaking on behalf of UNESCO, Ms. Ingeborg Breines, Director of Women and Culture of Peace said, “This is an excellent idea and would give some gender balance.” She added that her organisation was looking forward to cooperating with organisers of IMD.
Objectives of International Men's Day include a focus on men's and boy's health, improving gender relations, promoting gender equality, and highlighting positive male role models. It is an occasion for men to highlight discrimination against them and to celebrate their achievements and contributions, in particular for their contributions to community, family, marriage, and child care. The November IMD is a significant date as it interfaces the popular 'Movember' charity event and also with Universal Children's Day on Nov 20 with which IMD forms a 48 hour celebration of men and children respectively, and of the special relationships they share.
The ability to sacrifice your needs on behalf of others is fundamental to manhood as is honour. Manhood rites of passage the world over recognise the importance of sacrifice in the development of Manhood. Men make sacrifices everyday in their place of work, in their role as husbands and fathers, for their families, for their friends, for their communities and for their nation. International Men’s Day is an opportunity for people everywhere of goodwill to appreciate and celebrate the men in their lives and the contribution they make to society for the greater good of all.
During the past ten years methods of commemorating International Men's Day have included public seminars, classroom activities at schools, radio and television programs, Church observances, and peaceful displays and marches. The manner of observing this annual day is optional; any organizations are welcome to host their own events and any appropriate forums can be used. Early pioneers of IMD reminded that the day is not intended to compete against International Woman's Day, but is for the purpose of highlighting men's experiences. Each year a different theme is highlighted, such as peace in 2002, men’s health in 2003, sacrifice in 2008, and positive male role models in 2009. In consultation with organizers from other nations the following broad objectives of IMD are observed:
To promote positive male role models; not just movie stars and sports men but everyday, working class men who are living decent, honest lives.
To celebrate men’s positive contributions to society, community, family, marriage, child care, and to the environment.
To focus on men’s health and wellbeing; social, emotional, physical and spiritual.
To highlight discrimination against men; in areas of social services, social attitudes and expectations, and law.
To improve gender relations and promote gender equality.
To create a safer, better world; where people can be safe and grow to reach their full potential.
International Men's Day is celebrated in Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Australia, India, Italy, United States, New Zealand, Moldova, Haiti, Singapore, Malta, South Africa, Ghana, Hungary, Canada, China, and the United Kingdom. Join us on 19 November 2010 in celebrating the contribution men make to those around them, to their family and friends, their work place and the community, the nations and the world.