YESTERDAY was celebrated as International Men's Day, under the theme 'Celebrate Men and Boys'.
According to director of Jamaica Mental Health Advocacy Network (JaMHAN), Jhanille Brooks, the objectives of International Men's Day include a focus on men's and boys' health, promoting gender equality, and highlighting positive aspects of the male experience.
“Recent World Health Organization (WHO) data shows that globally, male life expectancy at birth in 2015 was 69 years and for women it was 74 years. On average, women on a worldwide basis live five years longer than men,” Brooks said.
“We also know that in almost all the countries of the world the suicide rate is worse for men and, averaged out, the rate of suicide for men is up to three times that of women. In Russia it is six men for every woman. Most people know that men suffer unfair discrimination in family law in most countries of the world, and in Western nations men and boys are dropping behind in school and university.”
Brooks stated that JaMHAN recognises that this day is unknown to many, and definitely does not receive the same emphasis and attention as International Women's Day.
She explained that attempts to garner support from many corporate organisations and international development partners proved futile, and elicited the following responses: “Why is this day important?” or “Our organisation is pro-women”.
Brooks said JaMHAN has rounded up a group of forward-thinking men to implement a social media campaign and rap sessions in three Corporate Area high schools in recognition of International Men's Day.
“We are of the opinion that, at the very least, recognising the day will simply celebrate men's existence and their positive contributions in an atmosphere where many men believe that they have been forgotten and are often identified as the reason for societal ills. We maintain that seeking to end male marginalisation and encouraging male empowerment will add to national development and the realisation of Vision 2030,” she said.
International Men's Day, which is celebrated in over 70 countries, is an occasion to highlight discrimination against men and boys and to celebrate their achievements and contributions, in particular for their contributions to community, family, marriage, and child care. The broader and ultimate aim of the day is to promote basic humanitarian values.