The State of Women's Advancement Symposium, a half-day forum focused on creating a dialogue on women's past, current and future advancement in fields such as public policy, leadership and entrepreneurship, was recently held at Northeastern University.

Co-organized by professors Alicia Sasser Modestino and Jamie Ladge, the symposium included more than a dozen researchers, policymakers and entrepreneurs whose work is dedicated to female advancement. The event was moderated by journalist Katie Johnston of The Boston Globe.

Sarah Merion, DMSB'11, founder of EthosWell, a company connecting people to alternative medicine providers, echoed some of the sentiment felt during the symposium, that women often have a harder time in entrepreneurial ventures than men.

“I can't necessarily say that being a woman has prevented me from getting the banks to sign on, but I certainly don't think it's helped me,” she said on her experience securing investment capital. “What's frustrating right now is that I have everything ready to press the gas but can't without that capital.”

Ladge, D'Amore-McKim School of Business associate professor of management and organizational development, highlighted the “perpetual dichotomy” that also plagues women in leadership roles.

“As women, we have the feeling that we need to be ideal workers,” she said, “but that doesn't mesh with being ideal parents, something else we feel we should be.” In order to combat this, Ladge suggested a strategy that includes better supporting working mothers and creating a sense of work-life balance from the top of a business to the bottom.

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