International Men’s Day 2021

Today, on International Men's Day, I want to take a moment to highlight the important role that men should, can and do play in embracing diversity and supporting an inclusive environment for all. We are all members of the same species and as human beings, we are better when we act together. I'm proud to be a man and I recognise my many privileges. I used to feel guilty of these but more recently I've come to realise that I can leverage these advantages to make a difference - in my own small way. As a middle-aged, middle-class, heterosexual, able-bodied, white man I can be viewed as the face of the problem. Fair enough - people like me have been the beneficiary of an explicit quota system designed by men and exclusively for men that have existed for hundreds of years. I am also part of the solution. And I salute those men that recognise that equality is not a zero-sum game; we can all win when we support and advocate for each other.

And I implore those men who have yet to embrace this mindset to do so - please be the best you can be and encourage better relations between all of us as citizens of the world. Let's not shy aware from challenges that men also face - in Europe, for example, men account for 80% of completed suicides and the rate of male suicide has increased 26% in the last two decades. As men, we often suffer poor mental health and feel unable or unwilling to share our challenges. Yet, just as we can share the burden of equality, we can also share this burden of communication.

So let us step out of our traditional shadows and be our best selves, be the advocates and the change-makers and be part of the solution. We will all benefit when we do.

Mark Fenton