Afghan Biographies

Jalal, Masooda Mrs. Dr. Massoda Masoda

Name Jalal, Masooda Mrs. Dr. Massoda Masoda
Ethnic backgr. Tajik
Date of birth 1962
Function/Grade Ex Minister
History and Biodata

2. Previous Functions:
Minister of Women's Affairs (2004-2006)
Presidential Candidate (2004)
Wolesi Jirga Candidate 2018 not elected
Second running mate in Presidential Election 2019 to Rahmatullah Nabil

3. Biodata
jalal_woman_affairsMassouda Jalal, daughter of Tela Mohammad, was born Jan. 05, 1962 in Gul Bahar in Kapisa Province to an educated family. Her father was the head of a factory. She went to elementary school in Karpisa before moving to the capital, where she attended high school and then entered the medical faculty at Kabul University.

One of seven children, Jalal 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 in 1998.

Running for president, the Tajik doctor rose to prominence at the constitutional loya jirga in 2002 when she ran against Karzai in the vote to elect a transitional leader. Former Minister of Women's Affairs under President Karzai. Masooda Jalal, was the only woman to run against Hamid Karzai in the 2005 presidential race. Her selected Vice-presidents were: Mir Habib Sahily, Sayid Mohammed Aaliam Amini. Having turned down a position as vice-president within Karzai's administration, she has since vocally criticized the Karzai government for not significant 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.

Leaving the life of politics, Massouda created the Jalal Foundation in 2007, the first women-led initiative of its type in Afghanistan’s history. The Jalal Foundation seeks to promote, empower, educate and inform Afghani women by building their capacity in human rights, gender issues and leadership. Foundation programs educate and train women, help develop life and professional skills to heal from post-war trauma, create a platform for women’s self-expression in the media, and promote peace and women's rights. Members of the Foundation are: Ghulam Murtaza Belquis, Maliha Partaw, Bibi Rogul Parwin and Sadat (20111017).

The Jalal Foundation – formerly known as the Afghan Public Relief Organization (APRO) - was formed by a group of Afghan women’s rights activists in 2003 “to advance women’s rights and to increase awareness about women’s rights laws and democracy in Afghanistan.” The group changed its name in 2006 after its Founder Dr. Masooda Jalal resigned as the Minister of Foreign Affairs and expanded the group’s mission and vision for serving rural Afghan women and girls. According to the group, it is the “first women-led, women focused foundation in Afghanistan.” Its activities include offering scholarships for women in higher studies and skills training courses, and organizing seminars and conferences to spread awareness about women's rights in Afghanistan. South Asia Democratic Forum (SADF) thinks it is imperative that the interests of Afghan women are kept in mind while deciding on the future of Afghanistan. SADF and the Jalal Foundation have accordingly  concluded an agreement - which has been signed in Berlin on October 17, 2011 - aiming at facilitating their contact with the civil society and political authorities of the West.

Public Prosecution Department said a commission is to be set up to investigate corruption cases attributed to Masoda Jalal and others. (20100315). Analysts say the case against Massooda Jalal was fabricated by the Karzai camp to keep pressure on Jalal to refrain her from politics.(20111023)

Jalal's  husband is a law instructor at Kabul University, the couple has three children (two boys and a girl).

Dr. Massouda Jalal received the Leadership Award for Outstanding Contribution to Women Upliftment from the World CSR Congress last February 18, 2015 at the Taj Lands End, Mumbai/India. Jalal is a recipient of numerous international awards such as from the UN Watch Human Rights, International Human Rights and Law Group, Center for Development and Population Activities (CEDPA),  SAARC Chamber Women Entrepreneurs’ Council (SCWEC) and Outstanding Visionary Women Leadership Award from the World Women Leadership Congress 2014.

As the Taliban took over Kabul at breath-taking speed in mid-August 2021, Jalal was forced to flee her country, along with her two children, to an undisclosed location in Europe. But she still has family in Afghanistan and fears for their lives. In an email correspondence with journalist Kunal Shankar, Dr. Jalal talks of her journey out of Kabul, her assessment of Afghanistan in the second iteration of Taliban rule, what she makes of ISIS-K and her future plans. (20210907)

She speaks Pushtu, Dari, Urdu and English.

Last Modified 2022-01-09
Established 2009-10-09