During Parliamentary questions today on whether the Government was going to mark International Men’s Day on 19 November, it was revealed that the Prime Minster, Rt Hon Theresa May MP, supports the important issues the Day seeks to address and highlight:
“I recognise the important issues that this event seeks to highlight, including men’s health, male suicide rates and the underperformance of boys in schools, these are serious issues that must be addressed in a considered way.”
This was further supported by Government Ministers with Caroline Dinenage MP, Parliamentary under Secretary of State for Women, Equalities and Early Years, who stated:
“…as parents of sons up and down the country we will all be conscious about the issues he has mentioned and the Prime Minister has mentioned.”
“International Men’s Day in the UK does take a very gender-inclusive approach and therefore believes that issues affecting women and girls are also to be resolved”
“I am aware that there are 60 countries around the world that celebrate International Men’s Day and there are various different ways that they do that, focusing on men’s health and wellbeing, highlighting discrimination against men and any inequalities they face, improving gender relations and gender equality. This creates a safer world for everybody, Mr Speaker, and is always to be commended.”
This was the first endorsement by a Prime Minister and Government in the UK.
The International Men’s Day team in the UK, said: “This welcome Prime Ministerial and Government endorsement clearly proves there is now growing acceptance and recognition of issues of inequality that affect men and boys, and, a need to take these seriously. This is a landmark moment. It gives a clear signal to both politicians and the public sector of the need to step up to the plate and ensure that practical policies and action is taken to address them.
“This endorsement will provide comfort and extra impetus to charities, professional and organisations already working hard to support these issues and often struggle to have them recognised.
“There are at least 25 events already marking the Day right across the UK, and there is still plenty of time to join these events or set up your own. These range from health days, education events and conferences. The full list can be found at www.ukmensday.org.uk/events”
The UK theme for the Day continues to be Making a Difference for Men and Boys.
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
The key issue of focus at a national level for 2016 is “supporting boys with their academic, employment, personal, social and health education“. There will also be a continuation of the attention on male suicide. International Men’s day also coincides with International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day.