By Senator Heidi Heitkamp

Even with the strides made over so many decades, on average, North Dakota women still make 74 percent of what men make for the same work — the fifth worst pay gap in the country. According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, in the U.S., half of all households with children under 18 years old have a mother who is the breadwinner — reinforcing that equal pay, or the lack thereof, impacts families. At the same time, almost half of North Dakota’s private-sector workforce cannot earn a single paid sick day — and only about a third are eligible for or can afford paid leave, according to the National Partnership for Women & Families. How can women effectively help support their families under such conditions?

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