The article, as part of the special 50th issue of PLA Notes, provides a general reflection on participatory development from a gender perspective and looks to future challenges. The article begins by laying out the case for a focus on gender issues, and then discusses the tensions between gender perspectives and participation. Some of these tensions include the myth of community; space, time and opportunity for participation (these can often be limited or determined by gender roles within a community); gender and policy processes; womenÆs participation and the role of the facilitator or change agent. Some of the achievements in using participatory methods in a gender responsive way include sexual and reproductive health (such as the Stepping Stones program), literacy and adult learning (such as Reflect), and linking the local to the national (such as the Self Employed Women's Association in India). The author also identifies some of the challenges for participatory development if it is to be equitable: it fundamentally has to deal with gender-based oppression. Some of the key points addressed include the impact of liberalization and privatization on women's participation in the public sphere and the linkages and disconnects between individual values and institutional change. Overall, the author highlights, from a personal perspective, some achievements and lessons and discusses the common challenges ahead in the current global context, for advocates of both participatory development and gender equality.