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A new kind of movement

That cooperative spirit has died out over the years, Sullivan believes. Today, women are competitive " "We're even competitive with our husbands and our boyfriends."

There's nothing wrong with striving to be the best, Sullivan stressed. But it can't come at the expense of other things. She sees women getting burned out because they're too afraid to ask for help. They don't make time to share with other women or to connect with their families.

"We're not taking the time to nurture ourselves," she said.

She's been juggling a lot trying to get the festival together, and she can fall into the mindset that "it's easier if I do this on my own," she said. In the end, though, she feels better reaching out for help.

"We've been conditioned to do things ourselves," she said. "We have this Lone Ranger mentality that we can do it all."

Murphy is a big advocate of stepping away from it all and just making time to sit down and talk. She frequently facilitates women's circles, including one she was part of locally last year in honor of International Women's Day. Everyone went around and talked about issues that were important in the community, about changes they wanted to see.

They wanted an end to domestic violence. They wanted more women to get involved in politics. They wanted people to support the arts.

Those are the kind of concrete ideas that organizers hope the festival will move people to take action on, with the idea that women will see these things " and themselves " as important.

"We need to reconnect with our intense power," Caruso said.

Not every undertaking has to be life-changing, Sullivan noted. Women can benefit even by doing simple things like getting together for a book club, or by picking one topic and talking about it, like the challenges of being a mother.

By listening to one another, by exchanging ideas, women strengthen themselves and others, she said.

"You see how much alike you are," she said. "It's so profound."

For more information, visit www.saratogawomensfest.com.""

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