Males across St. Kitts and Nevis who are making a positive impact in society are being applauded for their contributions in shaping a stronger and more resilient twin-island Federation as the nation observes International Men’s Day on Saturday (November 19, 2022).

The global theme for the annual observance is Helping Men and Boys. However, officials at the Department of Gender Affairs have considered the local cultural context and coined the theme as Gender Equality: The Role of Our Men and Boys in Building and Maintaining Positive Relationships.

Junior Minister responsible for Gender Affairs, the Honourable Isalean Phillip, made a national address on Saturday to mark the observance. The Minister said that the local theme highlights the value of building positive relationships to deter violent realities that surround some domestic and gender relations. She added that achieving the outlined goals will require focusing on three core areas.

“Firstly, it encourages healthy and positive relationship building between men and their female counterparts in their homes, at work, at school, during social events, and in our communities. To cultivate healthy relations between men and women, we need men to value women equally, to approach each other with gentle kindness and respect and to be more collaborative in sharing the responsibilities in domestic and professional life,” Honourable Phillip stated.

The second core area encourages building relationships with fellow men who are friends, brethren, or brothers. Strong and healthy friendships with other positive-minded males result in a lower risk of depression, suicide, school dropout, teen pregnancy, substance abuse and gang involvement.

The third area highlighted was the relationship between men and their children as well as increasing mentor-mentee relationships.

“The type of relationship that fathers have with their children affects children’s cognitive and social development,” Minister Phillip expressed. “Where involved and active father figures are absent in a boy child’s life, mentors become even more necessary to support healthy development and growth. Mentorship is found to be impactful at influencing behaviour change and life choices among at-risk children and youth in particular.”

The Junior Minister encouraged interested males to sign up to become mentors in the department’s Boys Mentorship Programme. She added that the Department of Gender Affairs is exploring additional opportunities to further engage men in dialogue that explore solutions to gender-based violence