Massouda Jalal

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Massouda Jalal
Massouda Jalal, VOA TV, March 9, 2005.jpg
Massouda Jalal on Voice of America in 2005
Minister of Women's Affairs, Afghanistan
In office
October 2004 – July 2006
President Hamid Karzai
Preceded by Habiba Sarabi
Succeeded by Husn Banu Ghazanfar
Personal details
Born Gulbahar, Kapisa Province, Afghanistan

Massouda Jalal is a politician in Afghanistan, who served as Minister of Women's Affairs from October 2004 to July 2006. She was also the only woman candidate in the Afghan presidential election, 2004.[1][2] She has a background as a pediatrician, teacher at Kabul University, and a UN World Food Programme worker.

Early life and education[edit]

Born in Gul Bahar in Kapisa Province, one of seven children, Jalal moved to Kabul to attend high school. She later attended Kabul University, where she was a member of the faculty until 1996, when the Taliban government had her removed. Jalal, a psychiatrist and pediatrician, also worked at several Kabul hospitals and, after her removal from the university faculty, as a United Nations employee within the World Food Programme. Her husband is a law instructor at Kabul University; they have three children.


Although she was uninvolved in politics during the Taliban regine, Jalal emerged after the fall of the Taliban in 2001 as a leading voice for the role of women in Afghan society. A representative of her Kabul neighborhood to the 2002 loya jirga, her name was placed into consideration to lead Afghanistan as interim president, but she placed a distant second to Hamid Karzai, with support from only 171 of the 1575 delegates. Dr. Massoda Jalal served as Minister of Women’s Affairs from October 2004 to July 2006, and she has since vocally criticized the Karzai government for not significantly advancing the social position of women.

As an outsider in Afghanistan's power structure, Jalal stressed her independence from the warlords and past oppressive regimes. Although many of the candidates for the Afghan presidency withdrew from the race and called for a boycott of the election following reports of voting irregularities at some polling places, Jalal was one of the few candidates who did not join the protest. An exit poll taken during the October 2004 election showed Jalal taking about seven percent of the vote among Afghan women.

Jalal received 1.1 percent of the vote in the 2004 election, placing 6th among 17 male candidates. She was a member of the Karzai Administration from October 2004 to July 2006, serving at the Women's Affairs minister in the cabinet.

In January 2009 an article by Ahmad Majidyar of the American Enterprise Institute included Jalal on a list of fifteen possible candidates in the 2009 Afghan Presidential election.[3] Although Majidyar wrote that Jalal had said she would run again, she did not run. Two other women Dr. Frozan Fana and Shahla Atta did run. Between the two of them they got a smaller share of the popular vote than Jalal got on her own.


  1. ^ Masha Hamilton (September 23, 2004). "Masooda Jalal's Campaign for President of Afghanistan". Awakened Woman e-magazine. Archived from the original on October 10, 2004. 
  2. ^ Heidi Vogt (2009-05-08). "Shahla Atta, Frozan Fana: 2 Women Among Those Vying For Afghan Presidency". Huffington Post. Archived from the original on 2009-08-30. 
  3. ^ Ahmad Majidyar (January 2009). "Afghanistan's Presidential Election" (PDF). American Enterprise Institute. Archived from the original on 2009-09-18. Jalal was the only woman candidate in the 2004 election. She was seventh out of seventeen candidates and then served as the minister of women’s affairs. She has said she will run again in the coming election. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Habiba Sarabi
Minister of Women's Affairs, Afghanistan
October 2004 - July 2006
Succeeded by
Husn Banu Ghazanfar