Equality for all: International Men’s Day 2018

Today is International Men's Day - an opportunity to celebrate men's achievements, highlight positive role models and focus on improving men’s health.

Mixed happy team
This year, the theme of the awareness-raising day in the UK, which has been running since 1999, is “positive male role models”.Warwick Marsh, coordinator of internationalmensday.co.uk, said: "Our mission this year is to highlight the positive value men bring to the world, their families and their communities. We have put the spotlight on positive role models to raise awareness of men’s health and well-being."International Men’s Day encourages men to teach the boys in their lives the values, character and responsibilities of being a man. "It is only when we all, both men and women, lead by example that we will create a fair and safe society which allows everyone the opportunity to flourish in their families and communities."

New research into the impact of male stereotypes on boys

Supporting this theme of positive role models, the UK Government Equalities Office announced today it has commissioned new research to examine how rigid gender stereotypes affect men and boys.Minister for Women and Equalities Penny Mordaunt said: “On International Men’s Day we should remember that equality is for everyone."In many areas, men get a raw deal, and often issues affecting them such as domestic violence or health or child care aren’t discussed.“I want to challenge rigid stereotypes, champion flexible working practices and encourage shared parental leave.”

Eliminating gender stereotypes and the link to wellbeing

The research announced today will also include a focus on developing ways to change negative attitudes towards women, says the UK Government Equalities Office. On the importance of challenging negative stereotypes, Ms Morduant continued: “Harmful stereotypes can contribute to an environment within which violence and sexual harassment against women can take place. As part of the commitment to ending violence against women and girls, this work will also focus on developing ways to change negative attitudes towards women.”

Men and mental health

Both the theme of International Men's Day and the government's new research into stereotypes touch on the issue of mental wellbeing.The Mental Health Foundation is making men's mental health its theme for the month of November, which is Men’s Health Awareness Month.The charity's figures show that only 24% of men who experience high levels of stress seek support from friends and family members to help deal with it, its chief executive Mark Rowland said earlier this month, "It's worrying to see that men are still very unlikely to open up to a family member or a friend when feeling under stress.“While stress isn't a mental health problem in itself, it often leads to depression, anxiety, self-harm and suicide. Some of the ways that men are dealing with stress such as alcohol and drugs can often intensify underlying feelings. "We need to address how men in our society are expected to cope when they feel under pressure."We all have responsibility to shift the culture and talk to the men in our lives." Read more about the latest employee wellbeing developments in Relocate's Global Health and Wellness section. Join our Think People Global Communities. 
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