International Men's Day
On 19 November, the world celebrates International Men’s Day, and this year it’s all about highlighting positive male role models within communities and raising awareness of men’s well-being.
Here at Virgin Active, we’re so grateful to the men that bring such great energy to our clubs – they make up the Virgin Active spirit and are an important part of the family! We asked some of our team members to share what International Men’s Day meant to them.
Here’s what they had to say…
Krishan Gandhi, Learning Experience Designer
“International Men's Day is an opportunity for men from different intersections to explore how their backgrounds have affected the definition of what it means to be a man. Heritage wise, I come from India, and therefore 'being a man' is wrapped up in duty and what you stand for and less about learning to be emotionally comfortable with who you are. Therefore, for me, International Men's Day is about men learning to be comfortable with who they are.”
Guile Fernandez, Head of Operations at Virgin Active Wandsworth
“Achieving a psychologically good and healthy active life is different for everyone. Something that still needs to be addressed in men’s wellbeing is how to promote healthy habits and how to encourage the population to follow them.”
Salman Khan, General Manager at Virgin Active Streatham
“International Men's Day to me means taking time out to celebrate the contributions and achievements of those who have overcome personal and professional challenges. Men are still reserved when it comes to being able to talk about their personal or professional challenges. By having the courage, the right conversations and a good support structure, they will be able to overcome these and become healthier versions of themselves.”
Gokul Yesodharan, Group Exercise Business Partner
“I see it as a day where men can promote positive expressions of masculinity as opposed to the stereotypical expressions associated with masculinity. I see wellbeing as a state of harmony in both the physical and mental state and having a sense that I am enough.”
Martyn Hawkins, Head of Family Activities at Virgin Active Solihull
“There has been such a great improvement in advertising to everyone that it’s ok to talk to your close friends and family…Having the ability to check in with others and understanding where people are at in that moment of time gives me a more enjoyable personal or working relationship with those people.”
Nick Myler, UK Family Business Partner
“International Men's Day is a day for reflection on all the inspirational and motivational men that surround you in everyday life. For myself personally, these individuals are a vast variety of people from my dad, to influential leaders both internal and external of Virgin Active. On the 19 November, I will take some time to reflect and remind myself of these men.”
Leandro Andrade, Boxing Activist
“When I was younger, I was told several times:
‘Men don’t cry.’ ‘Men are strong.’ ‘Men are the breadwinners.’ ‘Men look after their family.’
My question was: why? The answer was always ‘because you are a man!’ Those words create a lot of pressure on young boys and men around the world. Indirectly, it's saying: suppress your feelings because you are a man. Let’s raise awareness to men’s mental health and promote positive masculinity too. Let's create better relations between men and women, we both have specific strengths that complement each other."