Today is International Men’s Day and here are FIVE reasons why we should care

So today, Saturday 19 November, is International Men’s Day.

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It started off in 1994 and  focuses on men’s and boys’ health, improving gender relations, promoting gender equality, and highlighting male role models.

Of course in the society we live in there will be huge dissenting voices and many people think for example that men have every day is men’s day but there are compelling reasons for why we all should care about International Men’s Day.

  1. It’s not International Men’s Day every day: Look at the stats for example. Men have lower life expectancies, are likely to be the victims of violence from both men and women, dads of all backgrounds face a range of challenges from juggling work and family, to staying in their children’s lives if they are separated, majority of imprisoned are men (and in Zimbabwe death penalty exists for men but not for women), world suicide rates are higher for men than women… it really isn’t that rosy for men.
  2. Let’s talk about that suicide rate: The theme for 2016 is Stop Male Suicide. In every country bar China where it is approximately equal the suicide rate is worse for men than women and averaged out on a country by country basis the rate of suicide for men is up to three times that of women. In Russia it is 6 men for every 1 women.
  3. Boy’s and men’s health worse than women and girls:  A World Health Organisation bulletin (found here) has found that there is a global gender gap when it comes to health. ‘According to the WHO European Region’s review of the social determinants of health, chaired by Sir Michael Marmot, men’s poorer survival rates “reflect several factors – greater levels of occupational exposure to physical and chemical hazards, behaviours associated with male norms of risk-taking and adventure, health behaviour paradigms related to masculinity and the fact that men are less likely to visit a doctor when they are ill and, when they see a doctor, are less likely to report on the symptoms of disease or illness”. For example, several recent studies in Malawi, South Africa, Uganda and Zimbabwe suggest that notions of masculinity not only increase the risk of infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), but they also inhibit men from getting tested for HIV, coming to terms with their HIV-positive status, taking instructions from nurses, and engaging in health-enabling behaviours.
  4. Men don’t talk about their issues: When a man talks about what is bothering him, he tends to be told to shut it down. That means men are less likely to talk about what affects  them because of societal expectations. This relates strongly to the high suicide rate.
  5. Positive role models not celebrated: What men is do often seen as what they are expected to do and little is done for positive reinforcement of behaviour. In effect the bad boys have taken centre stage meaning male children are growing into a world where the heroes they are told to look up to are those who engage of self-destructive behaviour.

60 countries across the world celebrate IMD this year and Zimbabwe is not officially one of them yet.

For more information got to http://www.internationalmensday.com/