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IWD 2024: Why Female Technology Leaders Should Embrace a ‘Yes, And’ Mindset
Thu, 7th Mar 2024

Identity is not one-dimensional. 

This idea hit home for me during a conversation about an evolving view of the identity of women across their personal and professional lives — an evolution we’ve all been experiencing throughout the 21st century. 

In that conversation, typical questions were raised. “Do you prioritize work life or home life?” “Do you embrace strength? Or intelligence? Or creativity? Or ambition?” 

It all felt like ‘either/or.’ But the most powerful response was neither. In fact, the questions flipped to a statement.

“Yes, and.” 

A Beacon for Embrace

This idea was not only powerful to hear — from a friend I deeply respect and admire — but one that can serve as a beacon to many. It is an idea that reminds women that it is possible and right to embrace our full, multi-faceted selves. That we can “have it all.” 

More so, the ‘Yes, And’ philosophy is a sign of recognition that women today are not just participants in their stories but chief narrators, directors and protagonists of them. It’s proof that we can celebrate our professional achievements and our intrinsically creative and nurturing endeavours. It’s an invitation to build a life that is successful, fulfilling and uniquely ours — and to shed the guilt traditionally associated with the pursuit of a rich and layered life. 

Prominent comedians like Tina Fey — who got her start in improvised comedy, where ‘Yes, And’ is the first and most important rule — can tell you, ‘Yes, And’ is much more than a mantra. It’s a way of life. As she says in her book, “Bossypants”:

“…‘Yes, and’ means don’t be afraid to contribute. It’s your responsibility to contribute. Always make sure you’re adding something to the discussion. Your initiations are worthwhile.”

In other words, ‘Yes, And’ transcends the chase for perfection or societal approval. It’s a commitment to confidence and positivity — and to living fully so we can tap into our potential, passions and spirit. It’s an encouragement to women to harness their assertive, “more masculine” traits, while also acknowledging and valuing their “more feminine” qualities (proving neither is so cut-and-dry or gendered in the process). 

A Platform for Support

‘Yes, And’ also debunks the myth that aiming for perfection is possible, or necessary. As Tina Fey also says, “There are no mistakes, only opportunities.” Embracing affirmation highlights a balanced, intentional way of living — one that enables us to lead with feminine strength. 

Lifting up each other’s achievements and acknowledging the richness of our lives produces a culture of appreciation for our capability for strength and tenderness. By championing ourselves and each other, the beauty of this magnificently complicated reality is recognized. Exemplifying that it’s entirely feasible to command the boardroom, guide the conversation, and cultivate a loving, nurturing personal life — all with fervour and grace. 

Our biological femininity is not a hindrance but a profound source of strength. It enables us to be both firm and compassionate, ambitious and empathetic. It provides both power and beauty in our complexity. It propels us to navigate our personal and professional lives with poise and confidence, redefining modern womanhood in the way we see fit. 

This life journey, in the end, is about not just achieving professional success or personal fulfilment in isolation but integrating all aspects of our identity so we can lead a life driven by purpose and passion. ‘Yes, And’ sets a precedent for what it means to live without limits, inspiring others to follow suit in praising the courage and richness of being wholly, unapologetically, and authentically themselves. Armed with ‘Yes, And,’ we can blend the lines boldly — demonstrating the true essence of feminine power.