International Men's Day (IMD) is a global holiday celebrated annually on 19th
November to recognise and celebrate the cultural, political, and socioeconomic achievements of men and boys. The objectives of celebrating IMD are set out in ‘The Six Pillars of International Men's Day' (outlined below) which aim to celebrate men’s positive contributions to society, community, family, marriage, child care, and to the environment. It’s also an opportunity to recognise men and boys who don’t fall into traditional manifestations of masculinity, such as gay and bisexual men, transgender, or masculine non-binary people.
The six key pillars of IMD are:
- To promote positive male role models; not just movie stars and sports men but every day, 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 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.
The UK themes for the Day which are used every year and help maximise participation are:
- Making a positive difference to the wellbeing and lives of men and boys.
- Promoting a positive conversation about men, manhood and masculinity.
- Raising awareness and/or funds for charities supporting men and boys’ wellbeing.
We’re keen to join in celebrating the positive value men and boys bring to the world, their families and communities. We must highlight positive role models and raise awareness of men and boys' well-being. Three ‘International Men’ of Brown Shipley - Hiren Patel, Suyi Opebiyi and James Blashfield were happy to provide their thoughts on why International Men’s Day should be celebrated:
Why do you think that International Men's Day is important and worth celebrating?
When it comes to International Men’s Day, some may choose to celebrate and others not, but it gives the opportunity to take a step back and raise awareness of a wide range of challenges faced by men around the world as well as acknowledge individual contributions whether that be in a personal, societal or professional capacity. In a society which is rightfully making positive strides in raising the profile and importance of gender equality, it is important to remember that even though men and women are both equal, the challenges faced and contributions are not necessarily the same. Focusing a specific day for men, as we do for women on International Women’s day, allows for the profile to be raised for these idiosyncratic topics and creates a feeling of an inclusive community, for at least one day of the year, regardless of whether those involved are celebrating success or acknowledging a shared challenge.
Out of the six pillars of IMD, which one resonates the most to you?
All of the six pillars in their own right are equally important however, I personally feel that the third pillar, ‘focusing on men’s health and wellbeing; social, emotional, physical and spiritual’, is the one which resonates the most with me as I see it as very much the facilitator or catalyst for many of the other pillars. The profile of men’s mental health has been a high profile topic in recent years and I believe there is still progress to be made here. To me, focusing on your own health and wellbeing includes addressing or at least considering large parts of Pillars 1, 2, 5 and 6.
Who are the men who have had the biggest influence in your life and why?
Muhammad Ali stands out for me. For breaking so many barriers and constantly setting new standards throughout his life against all odds. I find it exemplary that he was able to pull off so many successes in the face of so much adversity during his time. And to do so with such supreme self-confidence will no doubt remain an inspiration to many young boys/men as it was to me.
What three things do you think men can do to stay mentally healthy?
- Physical activity. Get outside and get active. Doesn’t have to be anything spectacular. Regular short jogs, cycling, walks, or even an evening stroll or chats with complete strangers can help keep body and soul together.
- Keep an open mind, believe in yourself, and try to do things differently, there isn’t just the conventional way of doing things.
- Most of all, be kind and respectful to each and every other person.
What can you do for International Men's Day?
Regular check ins with colleagues to ask how they are doing, taking the time to do this in advance of any work-related discussions. Look out for signs of concern and choose an appropriate time to offer support. Be open with the team and encourage everyone to bring their true selves to work in an open, supportive and collegiate environment.
Do any of the six pillars most resonate with you? Which men will you celebrate this year? Please let us know!