International Men’s Day to foster positive gender relations on the Coffs Coast

John Mandile (L) and Richard Widders are helping to organise International Men’s Day. Photo: Andrew Vivian.


INTERNATIONAL Men’s Day is celebrated on 19 November in 80 countries.

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The objectives for the day are to value male role models, acknowledge the contribution of men and boys, improve male health, tackle discrimination and disadvantage, foster positive gender relations and make the world a safer place for everyone.

Locally, John Mandile and Richard Widders are helping plan an information stall at the growers market on Thursday 19 November followed by a celebration at the Harbourside markets on Sunday 22 November.

John said the Coffs Harbour City Council, Mentors for Men, Lifeline and the Men’s Shed are partnering to plan the celebrations.

John said that, in current times, men’s roles are often not clearly defined and understood.

“Nowadays it’s about men accepting that they are partners not just providers.”

A major aspect of this involves men being better communicators.

Mentors for Men hold a ‘circle’ every week, where participants engage in a confidential sharing of feelings.

The Sunday celebration will have a ‘yarning tent’ where men can come and share about themselves.

John also hopes to be able to organise talks about men’s health.

Richard is the Aboriginal Community Planner for the Council and believes the day is about coming together and celebrating.

“The more relationships you can build the more effective you can be,” he said.

He suggested that if everyone is made to feel equal, this might carry over into their personal relationships.

Mentors for Men has been going for seven years and uses one-on-one peer relationships to build trust and offer support.

The aim is for men to learn how to listen deeply, be compassionate, accepting of others values, no be judgemental and gain trust.

“Once you have trust, men will talk about what is important,” said John.


By Andrew VIVIAN

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