International Men’s Day 2010

PRESS RELEASE

INTERNATIONAL MEN’S DAY – 2010

All India Men’s Welfare Association (AIMWA)

International Men’s Day (IMD) is celebrated on 19th November the world over.

This year, on the occasion of IMD, AIMWA is felicitating three
positive male role models namely, Dr. Viswanath Gogte, Sri. A.V.
Gurunadh and Sri. Gangadhara Sastry for their extraordinary
contributions to academic, civic and spiritual education,
respectively.

Why celebrate Men’s Day?

In the recent years, it has become common practice to neglect,
ill-treat and demean men in the society.  Male bashing (both physical
and verbal) and portrayal of men as villains, idiots and inferior
creatures is seen as an innocuous way of increasing profits of media
houses and other businesses. Discrimination of men under law and
violation of their human rights have become synonymous with empowering
and protecting women.

Undermining the positive contributions of majority of men and
exaggerating the misdeeds of a few has serious impact on the psyche of
men and the self-image of young men and boys. Discrimination against
men in areas of social services, social attitudes, social expectations
and law is very demoralizing to the common men who lead decent, honest
lives.

International men’s day is about celebrating and honoring men in our
lives for all the contributions, services and sacrifices they make for
the well-being of the family and society.  It is an opportunity to
revive respect towards men and improve gender relations. It is an
occasion to promote positive male role models, to reinforce the
self-esteem and pride of young men and boys about being male. It is a
day to remind everyone of the fact that men are human too and that
they desire and deserve love, care and respect just as much as women
do.

In an attempt to shed light on the various issues affecting men, All
India Men’s Welfare Association (AIMWA) is organizing a conference
where experts in various fields will share their observations and
recommendations.

* Physical Health of men – Dr. Sudhir, BHMS, Kakinada

The National Family Health Survey does not consider men’s health
important – enormous focus on women and children, and the mention of
men only in relation to how they should contribute to the health and
welfare of women and children, clearly indicates the apathy of the
Government towards men’s health. No funds are allocated to conduct
research on or develop remedies for diseases specific to men such as
prostate or testicular cancers.  Since men define their lives largely
by their professions and protecting and providing for their families,
they tend to ignore illnesses, lead less healthy lifestyles than
women, miss getting medical attention in time, and as other stresses
in life increase, the diseases catch up with them. Men are more likely
to die from heart disease, prostate cancer, stroke, infectious
diseases, accidents and suicide. Males have a higher overall mortality
rate than females at all ages (roughly 1.6 times greater). It is
necessary to understand the genetic, environmental or age related
illnesses which can affect men, and provide them with insurance to get
the right kind of medical attention at the appropriate time.

* Men as protectors – Sri. A.B. Pratap Reddy, A.P. Police
Department, Hyderabad

Men as individuals and as a group are expected to protect not just
their own respective families, but also, all women and children in the
society. Right from the age of 7, a boy is trained to be an “unpaid
bodyguard” to girls and women. Accordingly, anytime a girl or woman is
in distress, one always sees men rushing to her rescue. The fire
department, police, armed forces and all other security forces are
filled with men. Even in forces where women are recruited, combat and
other risky operations are considered the exclusive job of men. The
country pays tributes once a year to all the fallen heroes who
sacrificed their lives for the country. We also need to remember that
the so-called protector too needs certain kinds of protection and
support in order to perform his job efficiently on a daily basis.
Government should pay close attention to improving working conditions,
salaries, housing and professional development opportunities for men
in uniform.

* Men as providers – Sri. Manoj David, President, National
Litigant Bench, Chennai

Men and boys are always expected to be and conditioned to become
protectors and providers. Even though more women are entering the job
market and defying their traditional roles within the family and the
society, resulting in reduced employment opportunities for men, the
society refuses to free men of their traditional duties of protecting
and providing for women, children and the aged. Men who cannot provide
for the family are considered incapable, unmanly and unfit for
marriage and having children. So, men often undertake some of the most
risky and challenging jobs in the society and put their lives at stake
just to be a provider.  Financial hardships drive thousands of
farmers, artisans and providers of crucial services to commit suicide.
Treating men as ATMs and expendable commodities is nothing but abuse
of their human rights, which must be opposed by individuals, society
and Government.

* Emotional Health of men – Dr. Praveen Chinta, MBBS, DPM, MRCP, Hyderabad

Boys are discouraged from expressing their pain and feelings from the
age of 7-8 yrs. This leads to fear of self-expression and even
numbness to abuse for the rest of their lives. Men find emotional
confrontations extremely painful when they grow up as they are no
longer good at articulating their emotions. A lot of men take refuge
in addictions like smoking or drinking to combat stress. Most men
enduring emotional turmoil in marriage contemplate suicide and a
substantial percentage of them (around 56,000 a year) actually commit
suicide. Twice as many married men, compared to married women, commit
suicide every year. Scientific research is necessary to understand the
emotional health issues of men, especially the Indian male. There is a
need for psychiatrists and psychologists to specifically focus on
issues pertaining to men.

* Men in old age – Smt. Kamakshi, Secy. Senior Citizens Forum, Hyderabad

While men in the “productive” age bracket are subject to the pressures
of professional competition, family issues and financial problems, one
expects that they would be relatively stress-free during their
post-retirement years. However, due to the breakdown of the joint
family system, and the advent of nuclear family and individualistic
culture, more and more aged men are suffering from anxiety,
loneliness, financial hardships and despair.  Many aged men also
suffer neglect and abuse in their homes, but they appear to be better
adjusted than women in similar situations, because men in general are
not expressive about their emotions.  Overemphasis on professional and
family responsibilities at the expense of their own health, and the
ensuing stress could be the reasons why life expectancy of men is much
lesser than that of women. As the physical and emotional health of
aged men depends, to a large extent, on their lifestyles during their
younger years, men need to maintain a healthy lifestyle so that they
are more resilient and capable of coping with the challenges posed by
age and age-related diseases and disabilities.

* Men and anti-male laws – Smt. Rama Subhadra, Mahila Satta Legal
Cell, Hyderabad

Many laws have been made in the last 60 years in the name of
protecting women within and outside the home. These so-called
pro-women laws such as IPC Section 498A, Domestic Violence Act,
adultery laws, laws against rape and sexual harassment and family laws
(divorce, maintenance and child custody) aggravate problems rather
than mitigate them. These discriminatory laws are anti-male and
anti-family, and serve as weapons that promote family destruction and
large scale human rights abuses against men, women and children. They
are tools of blackmail and extortion in the hands of unscrupulous
women, law enforcement personnel, lawyers and judiciary. There is an
urgent need to eliminate discrimination against men under law, make
all civil and criminal laws equally applicable to men and women, and
also to ensure that strict penalties are imposed on those who misuse
the laws.

* Respecting male sexuality – Smt. Uma Challa, President, All
India Men’s Welfare Association, Hyderabad

Sexual arousal is easily discernible in men, whereas it is not obvious
in women. As a result, men constantly face the allegation of being
obsessed with sex. It is also believed that men always indulge in sex
voluntarily, whereas women are thought to take part in sex either to
fulfill the sexual or emotional needs of men or because they are
forced to do so by men against their will. Male sexuality is often
attacked to break a man down emotionally. Sexual exploitation and rape
of men/boys by women is not acknowledged as an offense, and in fact it
is considered as a non-existent problem. Today, male sexuality is
ridiculed, insulted, misunderstood, undermined, disregarded,
criminalized and everything but respected. Proper awareness on male
sexuality is very important for both men and women. Provisions and
laws for protection against sexual assault and abuse are as necessary
for men as they are for women.

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