NELSON: The differences are still great

Tri-City News columnist Jim Nelson - photO SUMITTED
Tri-City News columnist Jim Nelson
— image credit: photO SUMITTED

Come on, Andy. You really want to push International Men’s Day? Today?

The International Men’s Day of which you speak is Nov. 19. Interna-tional Women’s Day is tomorrow.

This weekend, we should be celebrating the social, political and economic achievements of women rather than pre-empting the day with suggestions of how we can better meet the needs of men.

Because women still earn 76 cents on the dollar compared with men.

Because the glass ceiling is cracked but intact in business and politics. In B.C., for instance, just 11.9% of company directors are women, lower than in every province but Newfoundland.

Just 57 Canadian women are members of parliament, less than one fifth the total number.

Women are virtually the sole victims of domestic violence and rape. Their reproductive rights are under constant siege, as are family planning services.

Affordable daycare to allow women to pursue education, training and work is seen as an unaffordable frill.

Women are a long way from emancipation, so it’s a bit embarrassing to be talking about International Men’s Day.

Besides, International Men’s Day — founded and first “celebrated” in 1999 in Trinidad/Tobago — hasn’t exactly spread like wildfire except, not surprisingly, to Australia, where it’s hard to find a day that’s not Men’s Day. There’s nothing those blokes love better than a booze up without the sheilas around.

To be fair, Andy, I know you’re trying to sell International Men’s Day not as a day to watch footie and drink beer but as a day for men to learn to treat women better and be kinder, gentler role models for children.

But we need more men to actively support the women’s movement before we start pushing men’s days.

A hypothetical, 19th century equivalent of your International Men’s Day push might have been International Slave Owners Day, a day designed to help slave owners become more sensitive to those they have been subjugating for hundreds of years.

No, I think I’ll quickly and quietly forget about International Men’s Day, Andy, and support International Women’s Day, if they’ll even have me.

The fact that we two men would even consider discussing International Men’s Day today speaks volumes about the importance of International Women’s Day tomorrow.


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