The Department of Gender Relations is fine-tuning plans to commemorate International Men’s Day 2012 which has been observed annually since 1999 on November 19th .
This is the first time Saint Lucia is joining the global observance. The aim is to help focus collective minds on helping men and boys live longer, happier and healthier lives.
Chairperson of the International Men’s Day Planning Committee, Al Elliot believes, as a developing state it is critical that the contribution of men and boys are highlighted in order for them to appreciate the important role of masculinity in ensuring fruitful and sustainable development.
“The Division of Gender Relations is moving in the right direction by appointing a man at the men’s desk to deal with issues relating to men, and for the long part, the department has been focused on issues relating to men and that is changing, so we hope as we build on the momentum men will start to get more involved.”
The Director of Gender Relations says the time has come for greater attention to be placed on men’s issues and the needs of both men and boys.
In addition, Charms Gaspard says society would benefit immensely if the male gender organise for positive change.
“We cannot continue to be proud as women of the fact that when we go to the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College on an evening all the students doing evening classes are women, and that situation creates serious implications because there is one segment of the population striving hard to achieve and the other segment, for a number of reasons, aren’t living up to their full potential and so we have called a number of individuals, government agencies and other organisations to come together and form a committee to, in a big way, focus national attention on men’s issues.”
A series of activities have been planned in an effort to commemorate International Men’s Day 2012 here in Saint Lucia as a grand affair. These activities include television and radio panel discussions, exhibition featuring outstanding men, Take Your Man to the Doctor Day and the Lucian Men’s March scheduled for November 18, 2012.
The aim is to raise awareness of and address five key issues namely improving men’s life expectancy, increasing men’s access to mental health services, improving boys education, tackling tolerance of violence against men and boys and promoting fathers and male role models.