What is International Men’s Day?
International Men’s Day is celebrated annually on the 19th of November to recognize and commemorate the cultural, political, and socioeconomic achievements of men. It encourages men to teach the boys how to maintain the values, character and responsibilities of being a man and the ultimate aim of the event is to promote basic humanitarian values, as well as awareness towards men’s issues.
In a world where women’s issues are prioritized and have campaigns all around the world to address them, the world forgets that the other half of the population need to overcome their issues to sustain the equilibrium positively. Many people use this day to highlight some of the major social issues that men and boys around the world face
Let’s look at some of the issues that need to be addressed and why this date is important?
In Sri Lanka, the male vs female suicide rate for 100,000 deaths is 34.19 and 7.55 respectively. It is 4 times more male suicides than female suicides. (Source: https://ourworldindata.org/suicide)
In the USA, Before puberty, the suicide rates among males and females are about equal. Between ten and fourteen, boys commit suicide at almost twice the rate of girls. Between fifteen and nineteen, boys commit suicide at four times the rate of girls; and between twenty and twenty-four, the rate of male suicide is between five and six times that of females
(Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS), The Boy Crisis)
The incarceration rates of Male are 93%. And a 700% increase in the prison population.
3 out of 4 violent deaths are men globally. In Sri Lanka 84.8% of violent death and homicides are male. (Source:https://www.unodc.org/gsh/en/data.html)
Men die 6 years younger than women on average globally. In Sri Lanka, the Life expectancy of Male and females is 72.1 and 78.5 respectively. (Source:https://www.worldlifeexpectancy.com/sri-lanka-life-expectancy)
“In the United States, by eighth grade, 41 per cent of girls are at least “proficient” in writing, while only 20 per cent of boys are. Young men have gone from 61 per cent of college degree recipients to a projected 39 per cent; young women, from 39 per cent to a projected 61 per cent. The number of boys who said they didn’t like school has increased by 71 per cent since 1980. Boys are also expelled from school three times as often as girls.
Why? In a study of boys and girls in the United States at the primary level, when it comes to standardized tests versus grades, “Boys who perform equally as well as girls on reading, math, and science tests are graded less favourably by their teachers.”Interestingly, the boys who behaved in the classroom in ways the study identified as more commonly associated with girls—for example, by being attentive and eager—did receive grades equal to girls who scored equally in standardized tests. Boys may feel teachers are discriminating against their “boy-style” behaviour, which understandably leads them to like school less.” –Cited from The Boy Crisis by Warren Farrell (PhD)-
The female to male ratio in tertiary education in Sri Lanka from 2010 to 2019 is between 1.3 to 1.4. (Source:https://www.statista.com/statistics/696320/sri-lanka-female-to-male-ratio-in-tertiary-education/)
Despite the overwhelming evidence that men and boys face a range of issues related to their physical, mental and social health and welling, many people persist in promoting a range of rigid gender stereotypes and clichés like:
“Boys don’t cry”
“Men and boys don’t need help”
“This is a male-dominated society”
and, “Every day is International Men’s Day”
To raise awareness and take action, International Men’s Day is set out in Six Pillars to focus on.
- To promote positive male role models, not just movie stars and sportsmen, 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 the environment.
- To focus on men’s health and wellbeing; social, emotional, physical and spiritual.
- To highlight discrimination against males; 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.
Theme for 2021
The theme for International Men’s Day in 2021 is noted as “better relations between men and women,” in view of one of the day’s objectives being “to improve gender relations and promote gender equality.”
What can we do?
As a society;
Understand that men bear much of the responsibility in a society that does go unnoticed. Areas including heavy works, outdoor works, physical labour and military are predominately carried out by males, and it is a pivotal role in stabilizing society.
Don’t try to represent the whole male society by 1% of the society who owns wealth or who do the crime. More importantly, acknowledging Men and Women both need to overcome their issues by cooperating, not by conflicts of one another.
As an individual;
According to psychology Meaning of Life is resonated with responsibility, not the rights which discussions are happening all around the world, that half of the equation; in simple words, your right is my responsibility. Having a goal and responsibility for something will give an individual an enormous amount of fulfilment than rights ever will. So do something that you are responsible for.
Understand that life is brutal and it is not always fair. Realizing that will make you humble and make your eyes and brain more open to opportunities. When the opportunities arrive, utilize them so you can thrive and make life less miserable.
Learn how to be a dangerous man and control it. Realize that like in the old saying, “It is better to be a warrior in a garden than a gardener in a war”. Improve your abilities and skills to make sure you are an important cog in society. Be true to yourself. Follow the passion you want and say NO to things you don’t want to do, even it is stereotypically what men should do.
The Boy Crisis: Why Our Boys Are Struggling and What We Can Do About It by Warren Farrell PhD, John Gray PhD.
Jordan B Peterson-professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, a clinical psychologist.