Development is the ultimate goal that any country attempts to achieve. The basic values of sustainable development lie on enhancing people’s quality of life leading to women’s and men’s empowerment. One of the ways that influences development of men and women is women’s equal access, equality of opportunity as compared to men, attaining economic security and alleviation of their poverty. These issues are more tangible in the case of female-headed households. This article presents the findings of a survey research on the opportunities and challenges encountered by female-headed households. 4280 samples were taken in a field research of women heads of households in five provinces of Iran. A review of the development, poverty, gender empowerment measures has to take place. The information gathered indicates severe poverty among women. The reviews of development and poverty indicators as well as women’s empowerment measures for women heads of households is very high and approximately equivalent to 0.527, in comparison to the same indicator for the whole country being equivalent to 0.193. Female-headed households constitute 8.4 percent of the total households in Iran. The main reasons of their responsibility as heads of households are disability of men to work (42% of cases) and death of spouse (36%).