Men's involvement and participation can make all the difference in women's lives.
- Fathers often decide whether a daughter will marry young or have a chance to complete an education. Early marriage can lead to high-risk pregnancies.
- Husbands play a key role in deciding how many children a couple will have, and when. These decisions can shape the future of the whole family.
- Men often make financial decisions, including whether to pay for a midwife or transportation to a hospital. When compli- cations arise, these decisions can be a matter of life or death.
- As political, community and religious leaders, men shape public opinion. Their support for women's health and well-being can affect the care that pregnant women receive.
- In the absence of a vaccine or cure, men’s behaviour is crucial to preventing the spread of HIV. Women are increasingly at risk.
"We see men and women as partners in a relationship built on mutual respect, trust and commitment. Partnering with men promotes the right of every woman, man and child to enjoy a life of health and equal opportunity." Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, UNFPA Executive Director
Each year for the past 17 years, UNFPA offices in all parts of the world have raised awareness about important population and development issues by finding creative ways to publicize World Population Day. Here are some ideas:
- Attract attention to the message by inviting politicians and celebrities to make public statements and take a leadership role in promoting men’s involvement in maternal health.
- Make sure to include men in the planning and execution of World Population Day.
- Organize public contests for posters, essays and plays about the importance of involving men in women’s health issues.
- Invite politicians and celebrities to make public statements and to take leadership roles in placing maternal health and the need for men’s involvement on the national agenda. Assist groups wishing to bring such speakers into their communities.
- Encourage and support participation of communities that have been affected, such as men who have lost family members in childbirth and women who have lived with fistula. Support them as speakers with the politicians and celebrities at special events.
- Analyze the positive steps taken towards partnering with men in your country, and identify lessons learned and needed action.
- Write and publicize success stories about maternal health projects showing positive results and respect for culture and diversity, with the involvement of men.
- Use credible facts and indicators in strategic ways so that political leaders become aware of maternal death, and the value of men’s partnership.
- Work with partners to present leaders with policies and strategies that are clear and proven to be effective, showing that problem can be surmounted and how to do it.
- Contact the media through press kits and conferences, preparing 'sound bites' to convey the message and linking the issue to local examples of men’s involvement in maternal health.
- Highlight the role of men in achieving the ICPD Programme of Action and the Millennium Development Goals.
- Link to the UNFPA website (www.unfpa.org)