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09 January, 2017

"WHAT MANNER OF MAN ARE YOU?" ASKS MEN'S ISSUES THOUGHT LEADER, AUTHOR, AND NIGERIA'S INTERNATIONAL MEN'S DAY COORDINATOR MR. MATTHEW GANSALLO




Did you know there is an international Men’s Day? Yes there is and it occurs worldwide on the 19th November every year.

Before you scoff at the concept of an international men’s day while there is an international women’s day and an international children’s day spare thought!

No! For us in Nigeria, International Men’s Day is not about men showing off their wealth or coming together to drink alcohol and ‘chase women’ which is usually what comes to the mind of an average person when thinking of the gathering of Men. A derogatory misconception usually accorded to all Men.

International Men's Day is a day for men to come together to hold various discussions on how men are perceived by men themselves, women and children and view areas of gender understanding both at home and the workplace. This is not a "one-off" and topics of discussion are going to be varied and structured based on national and international consciousness.

For example, we propose to schedule a seminar that will discuss the topic of boy’s education led by men. There is also the topic of mental wellness of boys of all ages that should be taught by men who have proven to be proper role models for all the right reasons not he wrong ones.

Another vital discourse for International Men's Day in Nigeria is to address the ‘garbage’ lumped on men which men end up lumping on themselves thinking this ‘garbage’ is expected of them, financially, physically and mentally. This has largely occurred through a distortion of what is what is usually excused as ‘culture’.

Judging by the increasing horror stories of women’s violence towards men and vice versa that is reported and read in the national tabloids and those heard and unreported, it is apparent this conversation is needed

From February 2017, International Men's Day Nigeria intends to hold seminars each month until November 2017 in venues and online. We will discuss further on all topics that confront men globally and in present day Nigeria. This will also include the cultural conundrum of maintaining a 18-19th century mentality while living in 21st century capitalist society and country.

So the concept that still prevails in this climate is that ‘you are the man it is your responsibility to feed, clothe and do all for your ‘wife’ when both of you are working and earn the same amount of money, comes in to question. Also is the reference to children: ‘I gave him two or five children’. Is the production of children not a joint collaboration? This will also come to question as other topics that it is hoped will reconsider the proper role of men in our society away from the stereotypes.

We will discuss what constitute the concept of marriage, while some women will do anything to be called ‘Mrs’ and have children, while resenting their husbands and emotionally abusing them just because they want to have that ‘pride’ of being capable of having children. The same also applies to men. Does all that mindset still work , can it work, and should it work?.

Do men recognize these stereotypes, cultural conflict and conundrums or do they just play to the gallery because they are so scared of not being called ‘A Man’?

Having recently been officially made the Nigerian coordinator of IMD. I kindly ask men to dialogue with us. International Men's Day is not a platform for competition with any women’s organisations or initiative all which are important and worthwhile. Men also need a forum to discuss real issues on self and believe it or not empowerment especially emotionally. IMD is not a platform to score irrelevant points on who is more oppressed Men or Women? That has been the mistake all along that has created glaring gender imbalance.

Men and Women produce children who are boys and girls who will eventually become men and women. We owe the youth and the children in our societies a duty to create and maintain balance for their health in all areas. So let’s talk.