June 24, 2021

Cayman Islands International Men’s Day Luncheon celebrates, acknowledges

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Honouring male role models and improving men’s well-being were the themes of an International Men’s Day luncheon on Tuesday, 20 November 2017. Hosted by the Ministry of Community Affairs, the event acknowledged the tremendous contributions by men in the caring professions to the social fabric of society.

Held at Grand Old House, honourees included foster fathers, the male staff of Children and Youth Services Foundation (CAYS), Department of Children and Family Services, Needs Assessment Unit (NAU), the Ministry of Community Affairs and the keynote speaker Greg Miller from the Employee Assistance Programme (EAP).

Thanking attendees for their contributions to the community, Acting Chief Officer, Teresa Echenique, acknowledged their role as trailblazers and said that the luncheon was part of a wider international recognition of the important role men play. She thanked the two foster fathers present for welcoming their foster children into their hearts, their families and their homes. She urged them to encourage more men to follow their lead.

Noting the number of Caymanian males in prison, the Acting Chief Officer said that this highlighted the increased need for more male role models.

During the buffet-style luncheon, remarks were given by DCFS Director, Felicia Robinson, on behalf of the Gender Affairs Policy Officer. DCFS Deputy Director Paulinda Mendoza-Williams, Acting Director NAU Matthew Hylton and CAYS Youth Facilities Manager Jennifer Leach-Tippetts also spoke. The speakers congratulated attendees in their diverse roles as mentors, sons, husbands and fathers and lauded their decision to work in traditionally female fields including nursing, social work, counselling and community work.

Mr. Miller gave a motivational talk in which he challenged males to question stereotypical assumptions of masculinity as these can put a lot of pressure on males to conform to unhealthy beliefs and practices. These can, he said, lead to boys and men engaging in risky behaviours and developing feelings of inadequacy and aggression.

The EAP staffer called on men to embrace the paradigm shift where masculinity encompasses caring and being more emotionally available to their families and to themselves. He suggested that promoting improved gender relations would not only help women and girls but also men and boys.

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