TAKING CHARGE: Mariam Javed (left) and Ambreen Pervez are the new heads of the Norwegian Pakistani student union.
TAKING CHARGE: Mariam Javed (left) and Ambreen Pervez are the new heads of the Norwegian Pakistani student union.

Women’s coup in PSS

The board of the union of Pakistani students now consists exclusively of girls.

–⁠ This may contribute to get rid of a lot of people’s idea of the Norwegian-Pakistani as a mental fanatic who subjugates his woman, says Ambreen Pervez, leader of Pakistansk Studentersamfunn (PSS), the union of Pakistani students in Oslo.

Seven out of seven members on the new board are girls. Mariam Javed, contact person at the student union, stresses that it’s a mere coincidence that there are only girls on the board.

–⁠ But we generally see more involvement from the Norwegian-Pakistani girls than from the guys. The media often portray us as oppressed and dependent, but we are both talented and committed. That many of us wear hijabs signals that it is fully possible to be a Muslim girl and still be involved in student activities.

–⁠ When these girls start to participate in the Norwegian society, they tend to become very committed, says Nirmala Eidsgård, project manager of the MiFA-project (Minorities in Focus in Academia).

Although no certain numbers are available so far, Eidsgård has the impression that there are more girls with minority backgrounds who are in higher education, than guys.

–⁠ As a rule, guys are more likely to drop out of their studies than girls, and I expect this to be the case here as well, she says.

Eidsgård believes that the Muslim environment generally approves of the girls getting involved, but that the criteria is that the girls hold on to their traditions.

Pervez stresses that it is fully possible to keep up a Norwegian-Pakistani identity and at the same time get involved.

–⁠ We haven’t received a single negative response to the fact that there are solely girls on the board, and the guys who used to sit on the board have been extremely encouraging, says Pervez and Javed.

Pervez emphasises that even though the «woman’s coup» can work against prejudice; the girls will not make any changes to the student union’s aims.

–⁠ The union is for both sexes, and so there is no reason why we should focus on female aspects. The most important thing is still to offer young Norwegian-Pakistani students good services.