MANY people are not are aware of a certain day to celebrate men as International Men’s Day, so they are caught unawares.  A Day for men! What more do men want?

The day was inaugurated in 1992 on 7th February by Thomas Oaster, though the day was conceived one year earlier on 8 February 1991.

Jerome Teelucksingh, who revived the event, chose November 19 to honour his father’s birthday and also to celebrate how, on that date in 1989, Trinidad and Tobago’s football team had united the country.

No matter what, men should not be pushed into competing with women on the issues of rights, discrimination and recognition, because that is what the Day connotes even if it may not be the original intention. Perhaps before long, due to pressure from ‘men activists’, the United Nations would recognise the Day.

However, it is relief that unlike International Women’s Day (March 8), International Men’s Day is not officially recognised by the United Nations, which observes World Toilet Day on November 19.

In any event, according to internationalmensday.com, “On November 19 International Men’s Day celebrates worldwide the positive value men bring to the world, their families and communities. We highlight positive role models and raise awareness of men’s well-being. One of the six pillars of International Men’s Day is to improve gender relations and promote gender equality not only for men but for women too. In this light our theme for 2021 is ‘Better relations between men and women.”

No matter what, men should not be pushed into competing with women on the issues of rights, discrimination and recognition, because that is what the Day connotes even if it may not be the original intention. Perhaps before long, due to pressure from ‘men activists’, the United Nations would recognise the Day.

In this regard Jerome Teelucksingh has said of International Men’s Day and its grassroots activists: “They are striving for gender equality and patiently attempt to remove the negative images and the stigma associated with men in our society.”

Granted men have problems or issues as everyone else, but men don’t fall into the marginalised and vulnerable groups due to their gender. So men should not be seen as trying to edge women out from the little space they get from them, so to speak.

Negative impact suffered by women on account of early marriage, forced marriage, sexual harassment, rape, widowhood rites in some places and on and on, are not suffered by men.

At any rate, there have been subtle or not so subtle grudges from some men and clerics opposing women development and empowerment. They opposed laudable programmes such as ‘Better Life Programme for Rural Women’ by the late Hajiya Maryam Babangida initiated in 1987 and the Family Support Programme initiated by Hajiya Maryam Abacha in 1994.

Therefore while women may talk of equality or rights, they may frown at their husbands or men in general agitating to be ‘treated’ like women. In other words, they want the men to keep off their turf. Men have always have an edge even though many would not like to admit it, but if it is not so, why are women demanding for rights, equality and spaces to participate in politics?

I heard one fiery cleric said at a lecture, if they wanted to support the family why wouldn’t they empower the husband, why the wife? They believe that if a woman is empowered or has her own money, she may not respect her husband or the husband cannot control her. For some, it is simply that they want to perpetually subjugate women in every aspect of their individual and collective existence.

In some cases they blackmail women and ask them to fear God, (mata kuji tsoron Allah), as if men should not fear God as well!

But even these are not enough to make them think of ‘Men’s Rights’ since they know in their hearts that men have all the rights and more.

Therefore while women may talk of equality or rights, they may frown at their husbands or men in general agitating to be ‘treated’ like women. In other words, they want the men to keep off their turf. Men have always have an edge even though many would not like to admit it, but if it is not so, why are women demanding for rights, equality and spaces to participate in politics?

Women want wavers and guaranteed slots for contesting positions because they may not have the money and know-how to play the deals to win elections. But men are appreciated every day; you can’t ignore them, they are everywhere wielding the wheel of everything and in the process  tend to forget or ignore the needs of women as half or more than half of the population, according to some people.

That is why women want to have a say and make their voices heard and actions taken on matters that affect them. And to participate was well.

Men don’t need a special Day to draw attention to their ‘issues’ or contributions to the family and society. Every day is a ‘Men’s Day’, after all it is a man’s world, as they say.

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