Although the role of women in rural communities varies widely across the world, its importance in the advancement of agricultural and rural development, and in ensuring food security, has been widely acknowledged. Many governments have committed to ensure rural women have equal access to resources and opportunities, however, regardless of location women still tend to have lower income levels, limited access to financial services, inadequate education, limited job security, as well as weak land and inheritance rights. It is increasingly recognized that if rural communities are going to remain vital over the long term, opportunities for women to succeed are a necessity not a luxury. This chapter looks at four major areas impeding the integration of women into rural development: unequal participation in the rural economy, unequal access to benefits and services, unequal participation in local decision-making, as well as the absence of long-term strategies for women’s empowerment. Of necessity, the chapter will take a broad-brush and comparative approach, using the latest data from international and national organizations as well as recent research on the roles of women in rural development.