For decades, TIME named a Man of the Year. This year, to celebrate the role of women in history, TIME unveiled the 100 Women of the Year project spotlighting influential women who were often overshadowed. These 100 women didn’t just define the last century. They inspired a generation of women who will define the next century.

Visibility Matters

Cover images of these iconic women reminded me of a childhood experience. As a young girl growing up in India, I didn’t see many powerful female role models. But my father did something very special that left an imprint on my mind. He created a collage of pictures of inspiring women leaders and glued it to the inside of my closet door. At the center of that collage, he drew my face and wrote my name. That’s it. He never said a word about it or explained what it was.

Every day I would open my closet door, look at the collage, and see myself surrounded by these role models. These courageous women were bold pioneers who weren’t held back by any barriers. I grew up to believe that they were my friends, that I belonged among them, and that I could be just like them. I believed that I, too, had limitless potential to create extraordinary impact.


That’s the power of visibility. If you can see it, you believe you can be it.


Closing The Gap

March 8th 2020 marks the 45th annual International Women’s Day – but we’re still far from living in an equal world. According to WEF’s 2020 Global Gender Gap Report, it will take 257 years to close the gender gap in economic participation and opportunity (compared to 202 years in the 2019 report).

The World Economic Forum highlights three primary reasons for this gap:

  1. Women have greater representation in roles that are being automated and therefore being displaced in higher numbers
  2. Not enough women are entering professions where wage growth is the highest (12% women in cloud computing; 15% in engineering; 26% in Data & AI)
  3. Women face the perennial problem of insufficient care infrastructure and access to capital

For women, this massive gap represents loss of opportunity, not just loss of income. Imagine a world where women’s voices and perspectives are not considered; where products and services are not designed for us; where we have no influential role in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. That’s a loss for all of humanity, not just for one half of it.

Future-Ready Leaders

These gender gap statistics can be depressing. Or they can be the catalyst for real change.

I believe that the quickest way to close the gender gap is to help women gain momentum with cutting-edge skills development, better access to capital, and inclusive cultures. And championing stories of role models to awaken the hero within each of us.

That’s why, Beyond Barriers is partnering with The State of Women & Women Investing in Women Digital for the education and economic empowerment of women worldwide. By combining our strengths in skills development, venture capital, and global communities, we are on a mission to unleash future-ready female leaders who will dominate in the digital age.

Accelerating Success

Much work was done before us and much work lies ahead of us. But together, we can create a future where women have equal opportunity and access to education, compensation, and leadership positions of power and influence.

Let’s celebrate International Women’s Day by committing to unlock our own potential. Take this Quiz to discover your momentum metric. Pinpoint what’s holding you back, so you know where to focus your effort. Accelerate your success and be the change you wish to see.

When you become the story, you have the power to change the statistic.


In the comments below, share a specific action that you can take to forge a more gender equal world.

#IWD2020 #EachforEqual #InternationalWomensDay #IamBeyondBarriers


Beyond Barriers is a leadership development platform helping women develop the skillset, mindset and toolset for accelerating success in the digital age.

WIIW DIGITAL is a digital media platform focused on global women’s issues, entrepreneurship, & investing for women and mindful millennials. 

Nikki Barua is the Co-Founder & CEO of Beyond Barriers. Follow Nikki on LinkedInTwitterFacebook and Instagram