“It’s a shocking fact that around the world, one man a minute dies by suicide with men and boys being twice as likely to die by suicide as women and girls. That’s not just a statistic, that’s somebody’s son, husband, brother, father or friend dying and we can and must do more to save these men’s lives.”
-Warwick Marsh, InternationalMensDay.com coordinator
Saturday 19th November 2016 marked a historical day for men. Finally, after years and years of fighting for it, we received an international day that focused on men’s issues such as
- Mens and boy’s health
- Improving gender relations
- Promoting gender equality
- Highlighting positive male role models
- Celebrating their achievements and contributions, in particular their contributions to community, family, marriage, and child care while highlighting the discrimination against them.
Men, like women, make sacrifices every day in their work, role as husband and fathers, for their families, their friends and communities etc. Over 60 different countries across the world worked together to celebrate this contribution and – more importantly – discuss the silent killer that is taking so many fathers, sons, husbands, brothers and grandfathers from us: Suicide. Find out more below but an important fact to remember is that 4 men commit suicide to every 1 woman.
In the UK, 4,630 men killed themselves in 2014, men are nearly four times more likely to kill themselves than women with 13 men dying from suicide every day. International Men’s Day UK invites all people, all over the UK, to use 19th November 2016 to start a national conversation about male suicide in your country.
According to dedicated website, ukmensday.org.uk, The theme is designed to help more people consider what action we can all take to “Make A Difference” by addressing some of the issues that affect Men and Boys such as:
- The high male suicide rate
- The challenges faced by boys and men at all stages of education including attainment
- Men’s health, shorter life expectancy and workplace deaths
- The challenges faced by the most marginalised men and boys in society (for instance, homeless men, boys in care and the high rate of male deaths in custody)
- Male victims of violence, including sexual violence
- The challenges faced by men as parents, particularly new fathers and separated fathers
- Male victims and survivors of sexual abuse, rape, sexual exploitation, domestic abuse, forced marriage, honour-based crime, stalking and slavery
- The negative portrayal of men, boys and fathers
A long fight
Although an amazing day, and one that will change a lot of lives, it hasn’t been an easy fight. The first call for International Mens Day was over 50 years ago in the 1960s. Many men came forward and asked for 23rd February to be International Mens Day, the male equivalent of International Women’s Day which is on March the 8th. In 1968, journalist John P. Harris, wrote an editorial brining to light the lack of balance in the Soviet System which promoted the day for women without celebrating men. Amongst the article is a quote about the communist system still very much relevant to society in general today, if not more so:
“makes much of the equal rights it has given the sexes, but as it turns out, the women are much more equal than the men.”
The interest in International Mens Day has been nothing less than outstanding with 60 different events across the country to bring attention to these issues. It has also made history. Following an argument bought forward by MP Philip Davies, the backbench MPs discussed the highlighted issues and bought them to light including male suicides, male victims experience of domestic violence and marginalization amongst others. They have published the full debate online which can be downloaded and read here.
We don’t need to tell you how happy we are to see International Mens Day and hope that it makes a positive difference around the world. But that doesn’t mean we can sit back and relax, there is still so much to do. We need you to keep talking about it, sharing things you see (including our tweets and Facebook posts) and highlighting any person who is seen to be actively promoting the denial of a father to his children. Join the fight and keep the conversation going – without that, men will still suffer in silence.
 John P. Harris, ‘Red Women – Painted Town’, Salina Journal, p.4. 28 March 1964