International Men’s Day 2016 Greetings
The following is a speech delivered by Dr Gale Rigobert, in recognition of International Men's Day observed on sunday, November 19.
International Men’s Day (IMD), November 19, was first observed in Trinidad and Tobago in 1999. The day, which is sanctioned by the United Nations, has received support around the world and we are pleased that Saint Lucia will for the fifth year be officially marking the observance, which aims to make life better, not just for grown men but for young males alike. International Men’s Day is an occasion for men to highlight discrimination against them and to celebrate their achievements and contributions, in particular their contributions to community and nation building, family, marriage and child care.
This year’s theme “Responsible Men, Secured Families, Safer Communities” highlights the importance of: • Promoting positive male role models. • Celebrating men’s positive contributions to society, community, family, marriage, child care and the environment. • Men’s health and their social, emotional, physical and spiritual wellbeing. • Highlighting discrimination against males especially in areas of social attitudes and expectations. • Improving gender relations and promoting gender equality, and • How men can get more involved in creating a safer, better world, where their families and members of their communities can feel secure and confident to reach their full potential.
As Minister with responsibility for Gender Relations I am indeed honoured to salute you the men and young men of our country. I recognize the invaluable contributions that you make to family, community and the sustainable development of our country. I also recognize the many challenges that you may face at various stages of your lives, and I implore you to refrain from responding in ways that can endanger you and your loved ones and to seek counsel when necessary through the various government agencies and institutions, your churches, family members and friends.
I would like to appeal to men who are able to be of good example to other men and young men to take on the role of mentors in your respective communities and provide the guidance and support to other males to help them deal with some of the challenges that continue to hinder their progress. I would like men and young men to organize by forming advocacy groups to articulate their concerns as a collective. I am appealing to all men to take their health, including mental health seriously and avail themselves of the many public and private health services that are present throughout the country. We continue to be concerned about what seems to be an increase in the cases of gender-based violence including sexual violence perpetrated by men against the women and children in our society. I am appealing to all men to take action through education and advocacy and empower other men to end the violence perpetrated by their male peers. Men and boys should not continue to be seen as the problem, they must become part of the solution in ending this scourge in our country.
The highlight of this year’s observance for International Men’s Day is a Fathers Fun Sports Day organized by the Division of Gender Relations and the Soufriere Youth and Sports Council, taking place on Sunday November 20th 2016 at the Soufriere Mini Stadium from 11:00 a.m. It will target fathers, their children or wards island-wide coming together for a day of healthy fun filled activities. It is intended to promote the importance of the role of fathers in the lives of their children. It is an opportunity for men to promote the nurturing of their children through sports and I invite all fathers and male mentors to take part in this event with their children or mentees.
Again Happy International Men’s Day 2016 to all men and boys in Saint Lucia. I wish to assure you of my commitment and my Government’s commitment to continue putting measures in place that will enable men to be in a better position to assume their responsibilities to family, community and country as we strive towards a more equitable society.
Hon Gale T.C. Rigobert Minister for Education, Innovation, Gender Relations and Sustainable Development