09/15/2014 04:55 pm ET Updated Sep 15, 2014

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand: 'There's No Support' For Low-Wage Working Moms

America is still "stuck in the 'Mad Men' era" in terms of supporting working mothers, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) told HuffPost Live on Monday.

During a conversation with host Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani about her new book Off The Sidelines, Gillibrand explained that while many women are conscious of the necessity to build a life consistent with their values, it's easier said than done.

"Every woman, in whatever career she's in, we try very hard to do that, and one of our challenges is there's no support to do that," Gillibrand said of trying to find work-life balance. "If you don't have something like paid leave, when your mother is dying and you need time to go care for her, or your child is sick or you've just had a new baby, to not have that flexibility in the workplace is devastating."

The senator acknowledged that she personally has lots of flexibility because she sets her own schedule, but she feels for women who don't, particularly those who work low-wage jobs.

"If they miss that day of work because their child is sick or their caregiver cancels on them last minute, they may well be fired," she said.

One of the challenges to solving the problem is communicating the reality of working women's lives to "very wealthy" members of Congress who don't experience the same thing.

"[Many members of Congress] have never lived it. I doubt very many of my colleagues have ever dropped a child off at daycare or know how much daycare is," Gillibrand said.

See the full HuffPost Live conversation with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand here.

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Kirsten Gillibrand