The people who support International Men’s Day – who include the international authors Warren Farrell and Steve Biddulph – have warned that while it remains important to focus on the specific needs of women and girls around the world, that it is more important than ever before that we don’t ignore the specific needs of the world’s boys and the men they will grow up to become. Warren Farrell states;
“In the last 30 or 40 years we've really helped girls and women develop and that's a wonderful thing but I've also seen that our sons have begun to drop out of school at a much greater rate, fall behind in reading and writing, and fall behind in almost every other psychological, social and academic area. We are on the verge of a crisis with our boys that is equivalent to the financial crisis that many of us didn't see until it came upon us. International Men's Day is one of the very few alerts in the world to that crisis. It is an early warning signal. We need to choose to pay attention to it or it will hurt us for years and decades to come."
The good news is that together we can make a difference. They five key challenges that the International Men’s Day team suggest for focusing the collective minds of people who want to take action and give boys the best possible start in life are:
HEALTH AND LIFE EXPECTANCY: Why are boys around the world more likely to die before the age of five and why do boys in every continent look forward to a much shorter life than girls? What are the reasons for boy’s higher likelihood of suicide? What action can we take to give boys the best possible start in life and help them live longer, happier, healthier lives?
EDUCATIONAL FOCUS: Why are boys in richer countries underperforming girls and also less likely to be in education, and why are tens of millions of boys in poorer countries still not completing a primary education? How can we address truancy, and poor literacy rates which leave boys prone to adult unemployment, substance abuse, obesity, depression, and poverty? What action can we take to focus on boys’ education in a way that gives them the best possible start in life and closes the gaps between girls and boys and rich boys and poor boys?
TOLERANCE OF VIOLENCE: Why are we so tolerant of violence and abuse against men and boys and why do we still tolerate a world where we send boys to fight the wars among adults? What actions can we take to help boys’ grow up free from violence and challenge our collective tolerance and support of violence against men and boys?
RIGHTS TO FATHERHOOD: How can we give boys a right to family life that gives them an equal opportunity to know and experience both their father and mother and ensure that their role as a future father is equal to a girls role as future mother. What actions can we take to give every boy an equal right to fatherhood?
REAL LIFE CHOICES: How can we make sure that every boy has opportunities to make a range of positive life choices in terms of work, family and leisure and reduce the number of boys whose life choices are limited and end up poor, illiterate, unemployed, homeless, imprisoned and isolated? What action can we make to help every boy get the best possible start in life and make a positive transition form boy to man that makes the world a better place for everyone?
So, how can you help? You can become a Regional or Global Coordnator for 2011 International Men's Day.
In the United States, we are looking for Regional Coordinators from Oregon, Washington State, Utah, Nevada, Wyoming, Massachusetts, Vermont, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, West Virginia, Georgia, South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, and Connecticut to join Regional Coordinators in the states of New York, Ilinois, the Metropolitan area of the District of Columbia, Virginia, Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Texas, Hawaii, Iowa, Michigan, California, Arizona, and Alabama in facilitating 2011 International Men's Day observances. For more information, send an e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 267-581-3963.