In a place where good stories seem difficult to find, we find this bright light. In 2004, a woman named Massouda Jalal ran for President of Afghanistan. Though she had little chance of winning, her candidancy brings hope to other women still living under Taliban like conditions in post-Taliban Afghanistan.
Born in Gul Bahar on 5 Jan 1962, Massouda was one of seven children. She completed her high school education and then went on to Kabul University, earning degrees in pediatrics and psychiatry. She was a faculty member until 1996 when the Taliban removed her.
She is now 41. She is married and has three children. She currently holds the post of Minister of Women’s Affairs in Afghanistan’s government.
Massouda was not involved in politics before the Taliban fell. But, she has become a voice for women in Aghani society. She was involved in the 2001 Loya Jirga and placed second to Hamid Karzai in the voting for interim president.
Massouda has no money. She is not rich. She does not affiliate herself with any party. This quote from www.afgha.com explains her philosophy and why she ran:
“I am campaigning right now, I am going to the provinces, sitting with people, but I don’t have money, I am not a rich person,” she said. “But that doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t use my political right. I am independent, I don’t belong to any party, or to any political organization of this country – that doesn’t mean that I am not powerful. I have the good reaction of people; I have the perception and accepting of people with me. And that is real democracy.”
Although Massouda did not win, she placed well. She came in 6th among 18 candidates. Not bad considering a few short years ago, she would have never even dreamed it was possible.