By Glen Poole, Helping Men Director and UK Co-ordinator for International Men's Day
One of the international roles that Helping Men plays is to help set the annual theme for International Men's Day which is celebrated in more than 70 countries around the world each year on 19th November.
We also invite and encourage people all over the UK to use International Men's Day on Tuesday 19th November 2013 as a platform to help you with your work improving the lives of men and boys in the UK.
The theme for this year's International Men's Day is 'Keeping Men and Boys Safe'. The first time I typed the phrase 'keeping men safe' into google in 2010 in came back with the question "do you mean 'keeping women safe'?" which made we consider how differently we might be treating men and women when it comes to taking are of their safety and wellbeing.
People all over the world are used to relating to men as protectors and providers, but how often do we consider the actions we can all take to protect Men and boys from harm and provide them with a safe world where they can thrive and prosper?
In the run up to International Men’s Day (19 November 2013) we are asking supporters o the day to focus on five key challengers that will help create a better world for everyone by Keeping Men and Boys Safe:
1. Keeping Men And Boys Safe By Tackling Male Suicide
Every minute of every hour of every day, one more man reaches the point where he thinks the only option is to take his own life. According to the World Health Organisation, it is estimated that nearly one million people take their lives every year and most of them are Men. In developed countries, Men are generally three to four times more likely to take their own lives.
Even in the countries that are considered to be the most gender equal, the gender suicide gape is significant. Suicide is linked to many different factors such as poor education, unemployment, family breakdown, bullying and abuse, addiction, mental health problems, homelessness and social exclusion.
But suicide is not inevitable, it is preventable, which is why this Internaional Men’s Day we’re asking people to consider what action we can take to Keep Men And Boys Safe and Stop Male Suicide.
2. Keeping Boys Safe So They Can Become Tomorrow’s Role Models
From the moment they are born, boys around the world are generally more likely to die before the age of one.
Boys are more likely to be the victims of violence and abuse, often within environments such as their family, their school or their community.
In areas of conflict, boys are more likely to be recruited as child soldiers, and all over the world teenage boys are more likely to fall victim of violent crime and murder.
Boys from wealthier backgrounds, with good educations and stable families are less likely to find themselves in unsafe and dangerous settings.
We believe that every boy in the world deserves the opportunity to grow up to be healthy, wealthy and educated.
This International Men’s Day, we’re asking people to consider what action we can take to keep all boys from all backgrounds safe from harm so they can thrive and prosper and grow to become tomorrow’s Male Role Models.
3. Tackling Our Tolerance Of Violence Against Men And Boys
Violence has a major impact on Men and Boys all over the world.
Every year over half a million people die from violence and 83% of them are Men and Boys. A similar proportion of the global burden of disease (ill-health, disability or early death) from violence is borne by Boys and Men.
Yet while there are now a number of deserved global campaigns to tackle violence against women and girls, there are no such campaigns to help Men and Boys.
Why are we so tolerant of violence and abuse against boys and men and why do we still tolerate a world where we send boys and young men to fight wars on behalf of the adults in power?
This International Men's Day we are asking for people to consider what actions we can take to help men and boys live in a less violent world and challenge our collective global tolerance of violence against Men and Boys.
If we want a safe world for everyone to live in we have to take action to Keep Men And Boys Safe.
4. Boosting Men’s Life Expectancy By Keeping Men And Boys Safe From Avoidable Illness And Death
All over the world Men suffer from the gender life gap.
A man in Swaziland, for example, can expect to die 55 years sooner than a woman born in Japan.
Early death is not inevitable. The average Australian man lives to 79, but he still has nearly five years less of life to enjoy than the average Australian woman.
This gender life gap is repeated all over the world and rises to a 12 year gap in Russia where the average man dying before his 62nd birthday.
One of the ways to help men enjoy a longer, healthier life is to keep them safe from avoidable death and illness. Murder, workplace deaths and road traffic accidents all kill more men than women as do illnesses related to lifestyles choices like smoking, drinking and unhealthy eating.
This International Men's Day we are asking people to consider how we can help more men live longer, happier, healthier lives and Keep Men And Boys Safe from avoidable death and illness.
5. Keeping Men And Boys Safe By Promoting Fathers And Male Role Models
Fathers and male role models play a vital role in helping boys make a safe, happy and positive transition from boyhood to manhood.
How can we give boys a right to family life that gives them an equal opportunity to know and experience both their father and mother and ensure that their role as a future father is equal to girls' role as future mothers?
Giving boys a range of positive life choices in terms of family, work and leisure can help us reduce the number of boys whose choices are limited and end up poor, illiterate, unemployed, homeless, imprisoned and isolated.
These issues can make the world unsafe for all of us which is why it is vital that we take action to make our communities and countries safe for men and boys to thrive and prosper.
This International Men's Day we are asking what actions we can take to give all boys access to a variety of male role models and ensure their country's laws and practices give them an equal right to fatherhood, with all the support they need to be the best fathers they can be.
A world filled with active fathers and male role models is a safe and prosperous world that works for everyone.
INTERNATIONAL MEN’S DAY 2013 WILL BE HOLD ON TUESDAY 19TH NOVEMBER. FOR IDEAS ON HOW YOU CAN MARK THE DAY CONTACT GLEN@GLENPOOLE.COM