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Tania Dall / Eyewitness News
Email: tdall@wwltv.com | Twitter: @taniadall

NEW ORLEANS -- Equal pay for equal work? Not so in Louisiana.

A new study says the state has the second widest gender pay gap in the country. Now state lawmakers hope to change that during this current legislative session.

'We created this partnership because we were both young moms. With our kids, we wanted a work environment where we didn't feel strapped to your desk,' said Jill DiMarco, co-owner of Signature Events.

The CBD business is all about event planning.

'I was working for the woman who started this company and this is my fourth major career change to come into this,' said Shelley Pigeon, who also is a co-owner of Signature Events.

She set out to work for herself 14 years ago, wanting more flexibility when it came to shaping her career. Pigeon hasn't looked back.

'When I worked for a larger company I was doing just as much work if not more work then my bosses who were men, who I knew were getting paid a lot more,' said Pigeon.

That trend continues. According to the American Association of University Women, men in Louisiana earned on average $46,313 compared to women, who earned on average $31,844. Louisiana falls behind other states with women earning 69 cents for every dollar their male counterpart makes.

'That's just blatantly unfair, and this is for the same type of work, and the same position. Women are consistently underpaid,' said state Sen. Karen Peterson, D-New Orleans.

This is Senator Peterson's third attempt at introducing legislation in Baton Rouge to eliminate discriminatory wage practices based on gender. She's joined by state Sen. Ed Murray, D-New Orleans.

Peterson says not paying women appropriately also hurts the state's economic vitality.

'This has a huge impact on the ability for families to sustain, women to sustain their families. It's really a fairness and equity issue,' Peterson said.

Fairness and equity that two New Orleans entrepreneurs found by being their own boss.

'I never worked for a big corporation. I always worked for a small business. So really this was perfect for me,' said DiMarco.

Here is a look at the three bills filed by state lawmakers introduced in Baton Rouge in an effort to eliminate discriminatory wage practices:HB453, SB68, SB153

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