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Sunday 9 December 2018
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Let’s talk TT: Men speak

Tim Stew
Tim Stew

Joint statement in the observance of International Men’s Day, which was held yesterday, by the British High Commission and the Delegation of the European Union. This year’s theme is “Positive Male Role Models.”

AAD BIESEBROEK

EU Delegation to TT

TIM STEW

British High Commission to TT

INTERNATIONAL Men’s Day is about highlighting discrimination against men and boys, promoting gender equality, and celebrating the contributions of men and boys to community, family... and childcare."

So said Dr Jerome Teelucksingh, founder of IMD Trinidad and Tobago, in an interview with the Jamaica Gleaner back in 2015. He was acknowledging that issues of gender equality affect men as deeply as they do women.

Any discussion on gender should include the male perspective – gender stereotypes go both ways and, in some instances, have severe negative impacts on men. We know, for example, that traditional ideas about men being strong, rational and unemotional have hindered many in speaking about their mental health issues and seeking help when they really need it.

International Women’s Day encourages us to question traditional concepts of femininity and examine how gender stereotypes affect women in their daily lives. In the same way, International Men’s Day encourages us to explore how traditional ideas of masculinity have impacted men: in a positive way on many levels, but also with negative effects which are often overlooked.

The British High Commission and the Delegation of the European Union in Trinidad and Tobago believe this is a crucial issue and we are seeking to encourage conversation on the gender stereotypes and the gender-based violence that exist today, here as in our own countries.

International Men’s Day is a reminder to the men in our communities to become allies for one another, and, importantly, also for women and the movements tackling gender stereotypes. Men can encourage gender equality by challenging the status quo – at home, work, school, and in their communities.

Honest and open discussions between men and women are essential if we are to eliminate harmful gender stereotypes and reduce the incidence of gender-based violence.

In 2018, the third initiative under the British High Commission and EU Delegation’s #Let’sTalkTT will focus attention on the male perspective on gender issues including violence in Trinidad and Tobago and on empowering men to become more self-aware by creating a space for discussion.

This year we are reaching out to new audiences through a series of media segments, incorporating conversations between men working on gender issues in Trinidad and Tobago and the British high commissioner and EU Delegation ambassador. The discussion will be open to the public via social media, on facebook.com/UKinTT or facebook.com/EUinTandT.

#Let’sTalkTT is a joint initiative launched by the Delegation of the European Union and the British High Commission to raise awareness about gender-based violence and to provide a platform to discuss gender issues in Trinidad and Tobago.

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Aad Biesebroek

Tim Stew

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