15 insights for 15 years

Picture of Phil Stewart

Phil Stewart


Tomorrow marks International Men’s Day, and this year the theme is “helping men and boys”. It’s an interesting time to be celebrating men, who as a group are generally regarded as being at the top of the pile thanks to generations of male focused social agendas. It’s a problem which has had a lot of focus in recent years, and slowly the tides are shifting to create a more equal society, one in which being a man is no longer an automatic step forwards against your peers. So, is it even right that we have a day to celebrate men?

Consider asking yourself this question: who are these men we are recognising? This group represents a much broader population than some people might consider when we mention “men”. Be it the contestants on Ru Paul’s drag race, the men protesting for Black equality in America, the migrants striving to build a future for their families, or the many men who have had to stay behind and fight in wars to defend their homeland whilst their families flee. They are all members of this group, while sometimes being part of other minority groups that may need more support in this world.

We shouldn’t be shying away from recognising the men in our lives and what they do for us. In many cases we may not need to help them up the ladder, but there’s no harm in spending some time recognising their contributions and addressing some of the issues that still exist. I suspect most people reading this will be aware that male suicide rates are three times higher than in women, and a lot of this is down to the pressures and expectations that are put on them. For those who are unable to meet those expectations, the results can be devastating. We should all have a vested interest in breaking these stereotypes, and in so creating equality between men and women.

International Men’s Day should be a time for us to promote positive male role models who are helping lead towards a fairer society. It can be used to display the diversity of men and break the stereotype of what a man should be. Men shouldn’t be told who or what they should be any more than women should. The quicker we all get on board with this and celebrate our friends, family, and employees for who they are, rather than who society says they should be, the better.

After reading this, spend some time today checking in with the men in your life you’re worried about. Thank the ones that have helped you or been a positive role model and encourage them to continue. And as a man reading this, think about what else you can do to level the playing field in society and inspire the next generation of men. Help them accept their weaknesses and encourage them to solidify their relationships with the women in their lives.