HISTORY & BACKGROUND2018-10-26T05:22:30+00:00

International Men’s Day on the 19 November was founded in 1999 by Dr Jerome Teelucksingh a history lecturer at University of the West Indies in Trinidad Tabago. Interestingly calls for an International Men’s Day (IMD) have been going on since at least the 1960’s when it was reported in the New York Times, Feb 24 1969 that “Many men have been agitating privately to make February 23 International Men’s Day, the equivalent of March 8, which is International Women’s day  This Day for women was first inaugurated in 1909

Since  the 1960’s there have been persistent international calls for the creation of an IMD, calls in the form of rhetorical questions about gender equality, eg. “Why do women have an international celebration and not men?” and more commonly in the form of statements like “Men’s contributions and concerns deserve a day of recognition in their own right” i.e. not merely by analogy with International Women’s Day.

In more recent decades there have been a number of attempts at establishing an IMD in individual countries (eg. Canada, France, USA, Colombia, Russia, Canada, China) with the hope that these gestures would be witnessed abroad by others who might follow suit and join in to celebrate their own IMD in synchrony with the founders. Whilst small celebrations of this nature were apparently observed by individuals in several countries they suffered a lack of publicity necessary to reach interested parties abroad, and therefore the initiatives were not continued.

In the early 1990s, for instance, organizations in the United States, Europe, and Australia held small events in February at the invitation of Professor Thomas Oaster who directed the Missouri Center for Men’s Studies at the University of Missouri, Kansas City. Oaster successfully promoted the event in 1994, but his following attempt in 1995 was poorly attended and he ceased plans to continue the event in subsequent years.

Whilst the Australians also ceased to observe the event again until November 19, 2003, only the Maltese Association for Men’s Rights continued to observe the event each year in February. As the single remaining country still observing the earlier February celebration, the Maltese AMR Committee voted in 2009 to shift the date of their observation to November 19 at the request of Australian International Mens Day organisors.

The Australian men and fathers advocates are the same group who established the current International Mens Day website. www.internationalmensday.com  The Australian IMD organisors brought several other countries into line with the small group of countries that had newly come to celebrate on the November date which was inaugurated in Trinidad and Tobago by Dr. Jerome Teelucksingh in 1999. In 2008  Dads4kids pioneered an historic celebration at the NSW state parliament and did the same in 2013 in federal parliament in Canberra Australia’s Capital.

A message from Warwick Marsh, International Men’s Day Coordinator

It should be noted that International Mens Day as a global celebration owes a huge debt to Indian Mens Advocate and mother of two Uma Challa. Almost single handedly Uma Challa pioneered the celebration of International Mens Day in India in 2007 not knowing where the date had actually came from but believing in the celebration as a way to expose the shocking abuse that men suffer in the anti male legal system. Uma Challa is the founder of a number of organisations including the famed Save the Indian Family Foundation” nonprofit based in Bangalore. Arguably Uma Challa was also one of the early instigators for an International Boys Day.

The Indian celebration of IMD is by far the single biggest celebration by any country in the global village. It was Uma Challa who inspired Warwick Marsh the founder of Dads4Kids to take International Mens Day to the world stage and synchronize the celebrations in the disparate mens movement around the world.

The proposed objectives of international Men’s Day include a focus on men’s and boy’s health, improving gender relations, promoting gender equality, and highlighting positive male role models. It is also suggested as an occasion whereby men may highlight discrimination against them and celebrate their positive achievements and contributions to communities, places of work, friendships, families, marriages, and child care.

Short Documentary on International Men’s Day

In the early years IMD received overwhelming support in the Caribbean and due to the persistent networking and invitations sent to individuals in other nations International Men’s Day has taken root on the international scene. The Caribbean initiative is now independently celebrated in countries as diverse as Singapore, Australia, India, United Kingdom, United States, South Africa, Haiti, Jamaica, Hungary, Malta, Ghana, Moldova, and Canada and interest in the event is increasing rapidly.

Since 1999 the methods of commemorating International Men’s Day have included the giving and receiving of gifts, public seminars, forums, conferences, classroom activities at schools, Men’s Health events, Movember fundraisers,  radio and television programs, Parliamentary speeches, Government Observances, Church observances, prayer meetings, peaceful gatherings and marches, awards ceremonies, special retail promotions, music concerts and art displays. The manner of observing this annual day is optional; any organizations are welcome to host their own events and any appropriate forums can be used.

Early pioneers of IMD remind everyone that the day is not intended to compete against International Woman’s Day, but is for the purpose of highlighting men’s experiences. Each year secondary themes are suggested, such as peace in 2002, men’s health in 2003, healing and forgiveness in 2007, or positive male role models in 2009. In 2010 the theme for International Men’s Day was “Our children our future”. Check out Wikipedia for a full list of themes.