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International Men's Day - Not in My Name

07/03/2014 17:54 GMT | Updated 07/05/2014 10:59 BST

This year's International Women's Day has the theme of 'Equality for Women is Equality for all' as designated by the United Nations. Within that theme there is a clear indicator that equality between the sexes is not something that should solely concern women, but also men.

However over the past few years there has been growing calls for greater recognition of International Men's Day as a means to celebrate the 'achievements and contributions of men'. The debate over the relevance of International Women's Day and whether men should be incorporated in the wider equality movement was one that raged across my university campus.

Often fellow male students and some female I hasten to add, would cry, "But what more equality can we give women?". Very apt I am sure and on paper the difference between me and my two sisters is very little in terms of the legal framework we are ruled under. In fact the chances are that my sisters will be in far better health than me and even live longer. So has equality in fact gone full circle and now men are on the back foot of equality?

To answer this in one word I would say: nonsense. Other stronger terms would perhaps be more appropriate.

Despite a whole century of calls for greater rights of women the battle for equality is far from over. We only need to look at this week's shocking EU-wide survey that showed one-third of women have been affected by violence. Even more worrying was the figure that the majority of those who had been subject to serious violence did not report this to the police.

We still see sexist behaviour taking place within our work places with women still earning an average of £5,000 less than their male colleagues. We see it within our universities with the rise of 'lad culture' where students take to public transport and to sing disgusting sexist songs. We even see it by our elected officials where some make sexist gestures towards their female colleagues during debates.

For me and my fellow male contingent, though we only make up just under half of the total global population, we make up 83% of those who are in power. Women on the other hand make up more than half the world's population and yet they still represent 70% of those living in poverty.

I simply do not buy into arguments that we as men are somehow oppressed by the force of the feminists and that we are slowly seeing our rights being eroded away. The right to objectify women by placing a topless photo of them inside your newspaper? Or the right to pay women on average less in the workplace? I like to think that I speak for the vast majority of men when I say that these are 'rights' that we are willing to forfeit.

Put simply, when asked why we need an International Women's Day? I think Jane Martinson from the Guardian sums it up very well by saying: "Because it's men's day every other day of the year".