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When Bettie J. Parker was born in 1948 in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, the state was segregated. Growing up, Parker was not allowed to use the city’s public swimming pools, drinking fountains, bowling alleys, or certain public restrooms.
Sixty-nine years later in 2017—and after a 33-year career as a math teacher at the city’s high school—Parker was elected as its mayor. She is the first woman to hold the position. “I didn’t even think about my age,” Parker tells Forbes of her decision to run for office. “It was a burning in my spirit to do something beyond what I had already done to help people.”
Parker is part of the recent wave of women who’ve felt a similar call to service, running for and winning state and federal political office in record numbers. She is also representative of a cohort of women who are over the age of 50 and shattering age and gender norms—women who Forbes and “Know Your Value” will highlight in a new weekly segment on Morning Joe. This week’s spotlight goes to women who, after decades building careers in other arenas, ran for political office and won.
Do you know a woman who is over the age of 50 and has achieved a “first” or broken a barrier? In partnership with Mika Brzezinski and her “Know Your Value” initiative, we are committed to shining a light on 50 diverse women over the age of 50 who have achieved significant success later in life, often by overcoming formidable odds or barriers. Nominate that person for the 50 Over 50 here, today.
We are accepting submissions until February 28, 2021: https://www.forbes.com/sites/maggiemcgrath/2020/02/26/introducing-forbes-50-over-50-highlighting-women-shattering-age-and-gender-norms/?sh=4b2e7dd31a72
Read the more about the four women mentioned in this segment on Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/sites/maggiemcgrath/2021/02/01/political-firsts-over-50-women-who-came-out-of-nowhere-to-get-elected/?sh=6f23a7ff7755
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