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Happy International Men’s Day (November 19th) and tomorrow Happy International Children’s Day!

I want to use this opportunity to say Thank you to the men in my life who are helping make this world a better place for all of us to be.

You might ask: Why have an international men’s day? Isn’t every day men’s day?

Men get a lot of privilege from the patriarchal system we live under, but men are also hurt by that system. The system puts men in a situation where they are perpetrators of violence. It makes it seem “unmanly” to express feelings, to get help for emotional difficulties/ problems (because they should be able to handle them, they’re men), and to be the best fathers they can be because of the expectancy that men will be breadwinners and that childrearing/caretaking is seen as a woman’s job.

International Men’s Day is a time to recognize men’s and boy’s health and mental health issues, work to improve gender relations, work to promote gender equality, and highlighting positive male role models. It is a day to celebrate the wonderful things men have done and do currently and explore how violence between men, perpetrated by men, and involving men can end.

Universal Children’s Day is tomorrow, November 20, which comes at a great time following Men’s Day. Men are more and more involved in childcare and in relationships with their children. It’s wonderful to have men involved in children’s lives. Children see positive male role models, ways men act, and learn to interact appropriately with men and as men without violence.

The date 20 November, marks the day in 1959 on which the Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, in 1989. The Declaration declares that children shall enjoy the benefits of social security, shall be entitled to grow and develop in health, the right to adequate nutrition, housing, recreation and medical services, the opportunity for education. It says children shall be protected against all forms of neglect, cruelty and exploitation. They shall not be the subject of trafficking, in any form. They shall not be admitted to employment before an appropriate minimum age and shall be protected from racial, religious, or any other form of discrimination.

This week is most commonly known as the week when Thanksgiving happens in the U.S. Know it also as a time to celebrate men and children as well as the ways they come together and the ways the world is better for them and to give thanks.

We must work together for men to live healthier lives, to be able to access difficult emotions, and to stop violence against women, children, and other men. We must work together for gender equality and for our children to see this and benefit from it in their own development feeling valued and appreciated no matter their gender.