Why It Matters: Child care, pay equity key issues

In this May 6, 2015, file photo Saryah Mitchell, sits with her mother, Teisa, Gay, left, a rally calling for increased child care subsidies at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif. In much of the U.S., families spend more on child care for two kids than on housing. And if you're a woman, it's likely you earn less than your male colleagues even though one in four households with kids relies on mom as the sole or primary breadwinner.

EDITOR'S NOTE: One in an AP series examining issues at stake in the presidential election and how they affect people.

WASHINGTON - THE ISSUE: In much of the United States, families spend more on child care for two kids than on housing. And if you're a woman, it's likely you earn less than your male colleagues even though 1 in 4 households with kids relies on mom as the sole or primary breadwinner. That's according to the latest research that suggests while the U.S. economy has improved, women and their families are still struggling to make the numbers work.

It's already illegal to pay women less for the same job or deny them a raise because of their sex, and the pay gap has narrowed dramatically in recent decades. Republicans say tougher regulation would only hurt U.S.