International Men’s Day (IMD) is celebrated on Nov. 19. Unlike International Women’s Day, IMD is not recognized by the United Nations and is seldom mentioned in the United States. But that doesn’t stop over 70 nations around the world from celebrating men on November 19.

A media release on the official event website explains:

Launched in 1999, and now celebrated in more than 90 countries worldwide, International Men’s Day is going from strength to strength. International Men’s Day celebrates positive male role models and the loving strength that men bring to their families and communities.  We highlight the need to address the male suicide crisis and we often campaign for improvement in men’s health.

Related: Stand, Men of the West!

“The aim of International Men’s Day is to celebrate positive male role models and to raise awareness of men’s issues which are often overlooked,” reports the U.S. Sun. “These include areas like mental health, toxic masculinity and the prevalence of male suicide.” The outlet goes on to note:

International Men’s Day coincides with Movember, when men grow their facial hair in an effort to promote conversations about men’s mental health, suicide prevention, prostate cancer and testicular cancer.

On its official website, the event states that the day is a “focus on men’s and boy’s health, improving gender relations, promoting gender equality, and highlighting positive male role models”.

It adds: “International Men’s Day is an opportunity for people everywhere of goodwill to appreciate and celebrate the men in their lives and the contribution they make to society for the greater good of all.”

The day is also “a platform to raise awareness to the challenges that men face in life – especially in relation to the international male suicide rate”.

An Australian IMD graphic from 2019

The objectives of International Men’s Day consist of six pillars, according to the event’s website:

  1. 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.
  2. To celebrate men’s positive contributions to society, community, family, marriage, child care, and to the environment.
  3. To focus on men’s health and wellbeing; social, emotional, physical and spiritual.
  4. To highlight discrimination against men; in areas of social services, social attitudes and expectations, and law
  5. To improve gender relations and promote gender equality
  6. To create a safer, better world; where people can be safe and grow to reach their full potential.

In addition, there is a different theme for IMD every year. This year, the theme is “Helping Men and Boys.” Past themes have included “Giving Boys the Best Possible Start in Life,” “Celebrating Men and Boys In All Their Diversity,” “Positive Male Role Models,” “Better Health for Men and Boys,” and “Better Relations Between Men and Women.”

IMD was inaugurated by Thomas Oaster in Malta in 1992, but the holiday faltered after a couple of years. It was re-booted in 1999 by Dr. Jerome Teelucksingh. Teelucksingh changed the official date to Nov. 19 to commemorate his father’s birthday. He is quoted as saying:

International Men’s Day has the potential to become the global medium to heal our world. The concept and themes of International Men’s Day are designed to give hope to the depressed, faith to the lonely, comfort to the broken-hearted, transcend barriers, eliminate stereotypes and create a more caring humanity.

I and the team at International Men’s Day encourage you to plan to celebrate International Men’s Day and to wish everyone a happy International Men’s Day on 19 November 2021.

Happy International Men’s Day to all the good men the world over! Stay strong and keep being awesome — we love you for it.

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