As part of ‘Equal Pay Day,’ young women across the country are discussing how they are affected by the purported gender wage gap in the United States.

A congresswoman from Virginia says despite the job availability and positive qualifications of women in her district, women have been opting out of career-oriented jobs, choosing instead to focus on their lives at home with their families. A recent study shows this trend happening, even among millennials. This trend is even affecting who is choosing to run for office.

“It is so hard to get women to run [for office],” Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-VA) said at an Independent Women’s Forum event last month. “Right now we have 5 open seats… four of them are hard-core Republican seats. Thus far, we only have one woman [willing to run].”

The congresswoman often sees women with the qualifications and opportunities to take on leadership positions, who opt for supportive staffer roles instead.

“We need to get more young women engaged at an early age, seeing themselves as being a public figure, being able to run for office,” she told Red Alert. “I think we just need to put that idea in their head maybe a little earlier.”

But the buck doesn’t stop at politics. Comstock started a junior- and high school program with the intent of exposing young women to female leaders in all fields, she told Red Alert. The Young Women Leadership Program is open to all young women, but prioritizes women in her district. The congresswoman also works closely with the nonprofit IWF to empower women on a national level.

Carrie Lukas, the managing director at IWF, told Red Alert the organization strives to empower women in as many areas of their lives as possible.

“It is interesting to me how much the mainstream media focuses only on abortion,” Lukas said. “But that’s not all that women care about. Women care about being able to find a job, find a good school, to get healthcare that serves their needs. That’s what we focus on.”