In Raleigh, lawmakers hear from women on gender pay gap

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Women call for equal pay and voice concerns to lawmakers in Raleigh.

Hundreds of women across the state gathered under one roof in Raleigh on Tuesday to fight for equality as part of Women's Advocacy Day.

They met with lawmakers, discussed the biggest issues affecting women and learned to lobby.

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Among the topics -- equal pay, protecting voting rights, expanding Medicaid and repealing House Bill 2.

Lindsey Huth, a teacher at The School for Creative Studies in Durham, brought dozens of her students along to teach them a lesson on equality.

"Most of my students are women of color, but their narratives are often left out, and they often don't see themselves in positions of power, especially when you're talking about the legislature," she said.

Keirston Deck, an 11th- grader, wants to become an engineer, but she is quickly learning she may not make the same salary as her male counterpart.

In North Carolina, women are paid 85 cents for every dollar paid to men.

The wage gap is even wider for women of color.

"As a growing woman I need to know because there are a lot of things going on that I don't like, that I didn't know before today," said Deck.

Dozens of women gathered for a news conference at the legislative building Tuesday afternoon to talk about equal pay.

Rep. Carla Cunningham, D-Mecklenburg, introduced House Bill 334 filed Monday called the Families' Stabilization Act that would guarantee equal pay for workers regardless of gender.

As a widowed nurse trying to raise young children, Cunningham said making ends meet was difficult.

"In the 21st century, we should be moving beyond equality and pay issues," she said. "You can look at all the stats, you can look at all the studies, and it tells the story and it's legitimate that we're still, as college educated people, still $10,000 to 15,000 back."

Cunningham has introduced similar equal pay bills every year since taking office but hasn't been able to garner enough support.

HB 334 passed its first reading in the House on Tuesday and is now set to go before committee.

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