Although women play a central role in the rural economy through their contribution to the agriculture production process, their equitable participation in rural organizations (ROs) remains minimal. Furthermore their role is decision making and in leadership positions within these organizations remains negligible. This disproportionate mismatch in participation is not only detrimental for women but also has negative effects on the household and on the rural economy. Combining insights from various secondary sources, the paper introduces of a new conceptual metrics around the discourse of participation. Based on this conceptualization of the term “participation”, the paper attempts to provide a critical analysis of the current development initiatives that address gender participation in rural organizations. It examines the multi-faceted impediments that rural woman in developing countries encounter and informs on the development initiatives that were catalysts to the rural woman’s participation. The paper finds that even the best designed development projects that are not cognizant of the impediments that the rural woman encounter, remain ineffective in promoting the rural woman’s empowerment and participation.

Author Biography

Maryam Tanwir, Academic Visitor Centre of Development Studies, Alison Richard Building, University of Cambridge

Tayyab Safdar is a Ph.D. candidate in the Centre for Development Studies, Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS), University of Cambridge.