Sexist ad shows a boy in a graduation cap and a girl as a bride

Many are calling out the company for discriminating between the genders

By Shaheera Anwar

KARACHI: It comes as no surprise that a brighter future in Pakistan means different things for boys and girls. While many people across the country are trying to challenge this narrative and promote a sense of equal rights and opportunities, some companies still seem to have not received the memo. Or they are just not able to break free from the patriarchal mindset that is so deep-rooted in our society.

An advertisement by State Life Insurance has recently come into the limelight for discriminating the future of the young generation. With text that reads, “Apnay bachon ka aaj roshan aur mustaqbil khushaal banaen,” the ad aims to target the company’s Child Education and Marriage Plan – wherein a young boy is seen donning a graduation hat, while the little girl is dressed as a bride – implying that girls don’t need education for a better future and should instead opt for getting married.

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The ad irked many people on social media, who are calling out the insurance company for promoting a biased mindset.

Activist Tahira Kaleem wrote, “This ad portraying girl child as bride is promotion of child marriage. Girls have equal right to get education as boys.”

Sherry Rehman also tweeted, “I request this insurance agency to please drop these adverts. The promotion of child marriage for girls and studies for only boys is not the role modelling we need in society. The bill for banning child marriage meets with social barriers like this, making laws hard to implement.”

While it’s still unsure if this is a new ad or an old one, the fact that many people are requesting to change how Pakistan sees its youth goes to show that the majority also wants the patriarchal mindset to change. Whether Pakistan ever be able to get rid of stereotyping, is a matter that only time will reveal. Till then, one can only hope and fight against such discrimination that makes one gender feel superior to the other.

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