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International Mens Day

  • 19 November 2020 / By Lindsay Ratcliffe

Today is International Men’s Day, as the Exec Sponsor for IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Awareness Programme), I wanted to share with you something that I feel is relevant to the spirit of this day.

My Dad was an awesome man and a massive influence in my life. He was definitely one of the reasons that I am who I am today. He was a great role model. He was honest and fair. He was measured and considered. He was not afraid to show his emotions or help me explore mine. He was supportive and kind and always an inspiration. He did not have a privileged upbringing but he made the most of any and every opportunity that came his way and taught me to do the same.

It’s with gratitude to him that I want to help celebrate International Men’s Day. It’s important that we celebrate this day to take the time to honour masculinity and all its diversity and celebrate men. By raising awareness on this day specifically we can start to break down the discrimination, negative biases and expectations that are -sometimes blatantly or inadvertently - packaged with gender, that might prevent men being the best version of themselves.

In celebrating this day we can create the space for men to look after their own wellbeing and the wellbeing of their brothers, sons and male friends without risk of ridicule, rejection or shame. We can create the space for men to be positive role models, like my Dad was for me, and the many other people that he influenced throughout his life.

The IMD theme for 2020 is “Better health for men and boys” and emphasising that both mental and physical health are important. By honoring IMD we can create the space and the support systems to help men heal. Men who have suffered institutional, mental or physical abuse because of their gender or the variations of their gender. We can help men heal, who through negative gender stereotyping have felt there is no road left except to self-harm or consider suicide as their only way out of a hopeless situation. We can support the men who out of fear, are forced by gender-based pressure to act or take action that they would not ordinarily want to take part in. We can celebrate and promote positive conversations about all shades of masculinity and what it means to be a man. In celebrating International Men’s Day we help to create a safer and fairer world.

Keeping with the theme of ‘better health for men and boys’, I’m also very fortunate to have two male family members who have survived prostate cancer. The fact that they survived is partly due to the fact that they were in a supportive environment where they could talk about it. This meant they were able to deal with it at the early onset and by getting an early diagnosis and treatment plan, they have survived it. Awareness events such as IMD helps us all open up the conversation, to say it’s ok to talk about and deal with men's health issues. That way more men will survive both the physical and the mental health issues.

Lindsay and her dad on her wedding day

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