International Men’s Day
International Men’s Day was conceived and coordinated by Dr. Jerome Teelucksingh, history lecturer from the University of West Indies and the first event was held at the Families in Action Headquarters in Newtown, Port of Spain on 19th November, 1999. In following years the event was jointly coordinated by Dr. Teelucksingh and Harrack Balramsingh, Chairman of Citizens for a Better Trinidad and Tobago (CBTT).
Dr. Teelucksingh chose the date partly to coincide with his father’s birthday, whom he felt was an excellent male role model, and also because it was the day in which the football team in his country created a level of unity which crossed gender, religious and ethnic divisions. He added, “I realised there was no day for men… some have said that there is Father’s Day, but what about young boys, teenagers and men who are not fathers?”
Early objectives of IMD proposed by Dr. Teelucksingh were
1. Improving gender relations between men and women,
2. Addressing problems and challenges of men,
3. Promoting gender equality,
4. Highlighting positive role models, and
5. Creating a safer, better world.
Of these he emphasised the importance of positive male role models, “not just movie stars and sports men but everyday, working class men who are living decent, honest lives”. He also suggested there had developed an unfair practice of ‘stereotyping’ and ‘unfairly branding’ males as perpetrators of violence in homes and in society, and said that this was one of the issues he hoped to start addressing.
The idea of celebrating an International Men’s Day received written support from U.N. officials in UNESCO and the event has continued to be celebrated annually in Trinidad and Tobago and other countries since it’s beginning.
We too in New Zealand need a day to recognise the gender imbalance and to propose implementation of moves towards a more equal society. Most nationally recognised domestic violence organisations view the issue of domestic violence from a feminist ideological [people who place women’s rights before victim’s rights] perspective. These organisations argue that contemporary men’s rights groups are guilty of singling out and then presenting data that supports their belief that men and women are equally guilty of domestic violence. It is time for New Zealand to follow the same path with the rest of world in recognising our laws are for equality and not for feminist domination.
But that’s just one area in need of focus for single men, fathers, married men who are not fathers, boys and teenagers. All 5 objectives proposed by Dr. Teelucksingh make this day a worthwhile event.
This event and the date has also been recognised and will be celebrated within other countries around the world such as Jamaica, Australia, India, United States, Pakistan, Haiti, Singapore, Malta, South Africa, China, and the United Kingdom.
This post will receive updates as each local area and groups of NZ give their commitment. This day is a National Day for NZ so let’s make this first one something to remember.