The first Women’s Day was celebrated in New York on February 28, 1909 by the Socialist Party of America. A year later, at the International Socialist Woman’s Conference, a suggestion was raised for it to be celebrated annually.
However, it was not until 1917 when women gained suffrage in Soviet Russia, that March 8 became a national holiday there. From then, I.W.D was predominantly celebrated by socialist movements and communist countries until the United Nation adopted it in 1975.
(NB: this is not a post in regard to International Women’s Day. That one can be found here.)
Meanwhile, in another part of the world, several years later…
In 1992 on February 7th, Thomas Oaster inaugurated the project of International Men’s Day (although it was conceived one year earlier on 8 February 1991).
He realized that we already had a day that advocated women’s rights and celebrated the role of a woman in general. So he felt inspired to start a movement for a day that celebrated men as well.
His inspiration was to establish a day that focuses on the health of the male species as well as highlighting positive male role models. And if that was too far-fetched, a day just to celebrate the positive contributions of men to communities and societal relations.
Hence, International Men’s Day was birth.
However, by 1994, the event slowly kicked the bucket. And it was not until 19th November 1999, some months before I was born, that Dr. Jerome Teelucksingh was struck with a brilliant inspiration. This was while he was going about his duties as a lecturer in the University of the West Indies.
Jerome was inspired to revive the event of International Men’s Day. He chose 19 November to honor his father’s birthday. But also to celebrate how Trinidad and Tobago’s football team had united the entire country with their journey to qualify for the World Cup in 1989.
Dr. Teelucksingh promoted International Men’s Day as not just a gendered day but a day where all issues affecting men and boys can be addressed. With the broader and ultimate aim of the event being to promote basic humanitarian values.
Today, International Men’s Day is celebrated in over 70 countries, on 19 November, and the celebration is supported across the globe.
[retold in my own words]
I came across a poetry piece – A Real Man by Brian Smith (see full poem) earlier this week and couldn’t help but be intrigued by it. This poem was a finalist in a December 2007 poetry contest and although it didn’t take first place, the impact it had on me was impressive.
So, in celebration of International Men’s Day, I am going to use snippets from this lovely piece that caught my attention. In this upcoming section, I will reveal characteristics of “manly figures” worth celebrating.
BUT that will have to be in Part 2…
Before I round up for this part, I just want to thank God for men with vision to see a thing through to the end. I thank God for men who help others to make the right decision so that the same mistakes won’t be repeated throughout history.
Happy International Men’s Day to all!
Shout out to my fellow collaborators:
- Barb Caffrey: Collaboration With a Purpose: Let’s Talk About Men
- Ipuna Black: International Men’s Day: A Father
- Sadaf Siddiqi: she’ll be joining me when I release Part 2.
- Mylene C. Orillo: A Tribute to all the Men in my Life
- Jane Love: A Real Man – Part 1 | International Men’s Day
NB: I’ll add to the list as they come.