On November 19, International Men’s Day celebrates worldwide the positive value men bring to the world, their families, and communities.
Every year, the day is dedicated to some relevant topic. The theme for 2023 is "zero male suicide". The choice of a difficult topic is justified by the growing statistics of suicide among men, which are three times higher than among women.
International Men’s Day encourages men to teach the boys in their lives the values, character, and responsibilities of being a man.
Calls for an International Men’s Day have been going on since at least the 1960s when it was reported 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” (New York Times, Feb 24, 1969).
Since this time, there have been persistent international calls for the creation of an IMD, calls in the form of rhetorical questions about gender equality, e.g. “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.
The day is not intended to compete against International Women's Day but to highlight men’s experiences.
Various attempts to start an International Men’s Day received little response. It wasn’t until the November date, which was inaugurated in Trinidad and Tobago by Dr. Jerome Teelucksingh in 1999 that International Men’s Day began to get international traction. More than 60 countries, including North America, Asia, and Europe, are currently observing it.
International Men's Day is celebrated in various ways in different countries. In some places, sports competitions and races are organized to emphasize the importance of physical activity for men. Others hold conferences and seminars where issues related to men's health, the roles of men in family and society, and gender equality are discussed. It is also customary on this day to thank and give pleasant gifts to men.
In Australia, International Men's Day coincides with Men's Health Week, during which various events are held to promote a healthy lifestyle and raise awareness about men's health issues.
In Sweden, this day is called "Men's Day" and is celebrated with various sports events, concerts, and exhibitions dedicated to male achievements.
In Canada, International Men's Day has become part of "Men's Week," which takes place from November 13th to 19th and includes various events to support men and their health.