International Men’s Day – India – 2015
THEME: MAKE A DIFFERENCE FOR MEN AND BOYS
Veeraiah stands atop an electric pole fixing power lines while thousands of people call the electricity department asking when the power supply would be restored.
Rajanna, an emaciated old man, ploughs the field where crops are grown to satisfy the hunger of men, women and children in far off places.
Mallesh, a spirited young lad, rarely gets his head out from underneath the chassis of an automobile, while everyone busily zooms around town in their sleek cars.
Suresh misses his family reunion and goes on rounds in the hospital wearing scrubs, to ensure that his patients are recovering well.
There are countless number of such invisible heroes who make positive contributions to the community, society, family, marriage, child care and the environment every day.
These men include sanitation workers, construction workers, chemical and gas factory workers, mechanics and miners; soldiers, firefighters, land mine removers, deep sea fishermen, electric linemen, house painters and glass cleaners; farmers, weavers, tea sellers, drivers, paperboys, mailmen and watchmen; teachers, doctors, scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs and public servants; fathers, sons, grandfathers, brothers, husbands, friends and colleagues.
Everywhere in the world, performing the most difficult, exhausting and dangerous jobs is more of a necessity than a choice for men. Everywhere in the world, most men dedicate themselves to protecting and providing for their families at the expense of their own health, wellness and safety. Young boys are also taught and expected to grow up to be men who will follow the same path.
Sadly, the present day society and media tend to idolize and honor just a handful of stars and celebrities, while ignoring the contributions of the majority of men. They also demonize all men and everything masculine, without realizing the negative impact that it can have on men, women, children, and the society as a whole.
International Men’s Day (IMD) is a day to
- remember all the good things about men and boys around us.
- acknowledge and celebrate the invisible heroes of everyday.
- honor men for all their positive contributions to the world.
- pray for the health, well-being and safety of men and boys.
- to ask for fairness towards men and boys in all walks of life.
- join hands to end misandry and to restore respect for masculinity.
IMD is also a day to examine the various issues faced by men and boys and to discover ways to address them. It is a day to sensitize the society to work towards making a difference for men and boys. This year True Equity Network (TEN) India and All India Men’s Welfare Association (AIMWA) will be focusing on two important issues, namely, health and education of men and boys.
Men’s health, both physical and emotional, is one of the areas which is seriously neglected in India. Even the most recent National Health and Family Survey of 2015, only addresses maternal health and child health, while examining the key indicators of health and family welfare. It mentions men only in the context of family planning and as to how they can contribute to the health and welfare of women and children.
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare must acknowledge the place and the value of men in the family. The country and the society must spend time and resources to spread awareness about stress and depression, male specific cancers, heart disease and neurodegenerative diseases which are responsible for reduced quality of life and premature mortality among men. The Government must allocate resources to conduct research and to find affordable remedies and cures for male-specific disorders, diseases and illnesses.
On the occasion of IMD, TEN – India and AIMWA will be conducting a “Movember March” which is meant to specifically draw attention towards the health and well-being of men and boys. We will be writing to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare about the need to include men’s health, well-being and safety in their agenda.
Education of boys is another area that needs immediate attention. Boys falling behind in education has become a global trend.
In India, the situation is often touted as girls being “more willing to learn” or being “capable of outdoing boys” in academic performance. While a lot of encouragement and incentives are provided to send girls to school and to keep them from dropping out, no such efforts are made to keep boys in school. Recently, the female Chief Minister of a certain State even demeaned boys at a school function by referring to them as “rejected maal”. Such discrimination has a severe demoralizing effect on boys, leading to underperformance in academics and dropping out of school.
Social scientists and educationists have also observed that since boys are expected to support the family, the need to earn taking precedence over the desire to learn, especially during times of crisis, is another major factor forcing boys to drop out of school and migrate to find jobs.
On the occasion of IMD, TEN – India and AIMWA will be writing to the Ministry of Human Resources Development asking it to correct this imbalance and to take measures to encourage and support boys to complete their schooling.
As Late Dr. K Anji Reddy, Founder of Dr. Reddy’s Foundation said,
“The highest patriotism and philanthropy consists in helping and stimulating men and women to elevate and improve themselves by their own free and independent individual action.”
This IMD, we ask everyone to help and stimulate, encourage and support men and boys to stay healthy and to realize their true potential.
Let us join hands and make a difference for men and boys!