Gender equality is not confined only to getting equal rights, equal access to education, health care, decent work and representation in political and economic decision-making processes but it also encourages celebrating both the genders equally. International women’s day has been steadily growing in importance in recent years but there is also a day to celebrate men across the world which is sadly less known by people.
The globe celebrated International Men’s day on November 19th that promotes the awareness of male health, discrimination and gender relations because gender equality is not only a fundamental human right, but a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world. This year the IMD theme was to ‘celebrate men and boys in all their diversity’ inviting every man, woman, girl and boy in the world to come together and celebrate men and boys in all their diversity.
International Men’s Day began in November 19, 1999 by Jerome Teelucksingh like International Women’s Day is celebrated every year on March 8th march to celebrate the social, economic, political and cultural achievements of women. Supporting the global theme, the focus remains on how we can make a difference to men and boys, and, how we can give men and boys better life chances by addressing some of the issues that affect men and boys such as:
UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, recognises the important issues that this event seeks to highlight men issues. It encourages men to be positive male role models. The event is an opportunity for people to appreciate and celebrate the men in their lives and the contribution they make to society for the greater good of all.
It has been 20 years of IMD’s initiation. It can be traced back to 1998 but somehow it has not yet gained that prominence in Assam, or even in India. to support this, Prime Minister Narendra Modi astonished us by his disregard on International Men’s Day who tweeted on “8th March” saluting the spirit and dedication of Nari Shakti but remained totally mum on IMD.
Significantly, there is another angle to this incident. We have seen India disseminating voices for the empowerment of the women but this year a group of people including women were seen fighting for the right of men. Men’s rights activists from Mumbai wanted Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) to be lit blue for men’s day as it was pink on women’s day. Vaastav foundation, an NGO in Mumbai that fights for crime and harassment against men, and also stands for the rights of men requested the railway authorities in Mumbai to light up the CST in blue colour in order to celebrate the contribution of men in the society on international men’s day on November 19.
Amit deshpande, head of the foundation said that they are not against women, or even the concept of feminism. They believe in gender equality. They are just taking a stand for equality of all genders. According to them, the world is all about getting equal rights but celebrating only one gender at the same time is something unfair. Thus, they had requested the railway to do so. Initially, it was doubtful as CST was lit up in blue colour on world Autism day that falls on April 2 in support of the autistic. But the uncertainty got over when the entire CST was lit up in blue colour on 19th November evening. But one thing must be noted here the peril of sticking to traditional gender roles still exist in our society. Even if we don’t intend to push these stereotypes but we all do it in a way or the other. Even an NGO like Vaastav foundation, which stands for gender equality, themselves demonstrated gender stereotype by appealing for lighting up CST in blue colour. It is also thoughtful that why CST even did stereotyped the female gender in terms of colour pink.
As a matter of fact, when we talk of colours, it totally depends upon one’s personal choices and preferences. We are up to some serious issue of gender discrimination as a fruit of attaching endless social norms to normal things. Our society should discontinue such inward thinking and things like “Barbie for girls” and “Car for boys” should not be encouraged anymore if we are really en route gender equality.