International Women’s Day is celebrated annually on March 8 across numerous nations in the world. International Men’s Day is celebrated annually on November 19 in just over 60 countries of the world.
According to the UN there are 195 countries in the world and it’s interesting to note that of these 195, the number that commemorates Men’s day is significantly lower than the number that commemorate Women’s day.
In my own country South Africa, we have a national holiday, August 9 where we take time to celebrate the amazing women of South Africa. But I don’t recall a national holiday to celebrate the amazing men of our country.
I am aware that there will be various arguments that may rise to challenge the statement above. One of the biggest arguments surrounding this is the fact that since the beginning of time, men have dominated every sphere of society and whether we want to admit it or not, even our “modern” society is still built to support men.
Even many religious practices and teachings have been wrongly presented and largely favour the patriarchal agenda.
However, it’s also encouraging to note the great work that has been done to redress the gender/sex issue through movements like feminism, which have their early traces in the 1800s and have significantly evolved into various expressions today.
In South Africa, there are various initiatives to support the girl child and numerous women empowerment initiatives. This is amazing progress for a world that has favoured men for thousands of years. However, I really believe that our generation faces an interesting dichotomy. This dichotomy finds expression in a conversation I was having with a dear friend of mine.
As someone who works closely with young people, my friend echoed her worries on the “over” focus on the girl child, to a point of “neglect” of the boy child. This over focus is leading us into another risk where women are raised to be strong and fully empowered and the men are just left without being empowered with the “right” tools to fully compliment the women to build each other and build our societies together.
I fully understand the continuous effort of building the girl child because of the harsh injustices of the past, but what I am merely also advocating for is; let us not neglect the boy child because if we do we will continue to create an imbalanced society in which one sex is supreme than the other and we will be no different from the oppressive systems that we are challenging. We need great men in our generation and campaigns like #menaretrash don’t help much. We need the full strength of both genders to make our societies great.
There are many great men and I have been fortunate to be surrounded by some in my life and though my writings are about uncovering wisdom in everyday life, I thought let me pause and honour the rare species of great men. I really want to honour them in this piece, though they are indeed a rare species, but none the less when great men show up and they fully take their place, it is an absolute work of art to witness.
To my Daddy, I am the woman that I am today because of your constant unconditional love, you always encourage and believe in me even more than I believe in myself. To my four brothers, I “dig” you guys, your love, your support, your giving and over protection is truly remarkable. My cousin brother whose kindness knows no bounds.
To all my male friends, though you all different in many ways but I love how you show up in the world living a deliberate purposeful life, serving, giving, protecting, loving and so much more…
To my spiritual Fathers, thank you for surrendering your lives for a much greater cause.