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LETTER: Unequal pay hurts women and their families, too

Women have been entering the workforce since the 1950s. My mom was one of those pioneers -- part of the first generation of women to take entry-level positions in cities and towns across America.

Women have been entering the workforce since the 1950s. My mom was one of those pioneers - part of the first generation of women to take entry-level positions in cities and towns across America.

Let's be clear: Women have always been working; they just haven't been paid. My mother moved to Williston with two small children and took an administrative position; I remember her being so grateful.

She was single-handedly supporting her family, and in those early years, she couldn't afford child care. In the morning, I went to Head Start; after school, my brother or a neighbor watched me.

When Mom retired 21 years later, she learned that a male with her same position and title - an apples to apples comparison - made $10,000 more a year. That was $10,000 a year that she could have put toward her children's college educations, a better house or neighborhood or a business of her own.

It's unfair and unjust.

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Think of the countless other women in North Dakota subjected to pay discrimination and its affect on their families - women working as hard as their male counterparts, juggling not only the breadwinner role but the caregiver role and never achieving financial security.

The economic playing field is uneven, and we must do something about it.

Passing pay equity legislation would send the right message: North Dakota values its women.

We no longer can base our economic policies around the male breadwinner model. In 2012, some 42 percent of North Dakota's low-income families were headed by females. Women are increasingly the primary breadwinners and increasingly the face of poverty.

I think we can all agree that when women do better, families do better.

Erin Ceynar

Minneapolis

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