According to the UN, almost 1 in 3 women in Pakistan have been married under the age of 18, with some being married off as young as 6 years old. About 25,000 Pakistani girls become child brides everyday.
To spark a much-needed conversation on ending child marriage, UN Women teamed up with Pakistan’s foremost bridal designer, Ali Xeeshan, for a unique campaign that entailed creating a one-of-a-kind bridal uniform.
The designer incorporated parts of a traditional bride’s dress onto a typical Pakistani schoolgirl’s uniform, and the UN used this to make a disruptive and impactful statement.
On the night of the biggest fashion event in the country, at Bridal Couture Week, model after model walked out on the ramp in extravagant bridalwear. At the end of it, people were surprised to see an unexpected showstopper close the show: a child in the bridal uniform.
The sight of the child triggered a major conversation on the horrible trade-off that takes place when a child is deprived of her right to an education and is instead married.
Both local and international news outlets picked up and amplified the message, following which thousands of people signed a petition to raise the legal marriageable age to 18 for women in Pakistan.
Partnering NGOs took the campaign’s message to the grassroots, educating both parents and children about the importance of a school uniform over a bridal dress. And in January 2019, the senate passed a bill to raise the minimum marriageable age.