Melissa Hield

         Let’s set the scene. Picture late 70s Austin… a little bit of rock and roll, a little bit of free love, and a whole lot of feminism. But this wasn’t the only political idea in full force. Reaganism was slowly creeping into the social landscape, changing it into something more conservative—something more traditional. Influenced by Phyllis Schlafly, prominent anti-feminist, many women vocalized their opposition to ERA (the Equal Rights Amendment) and the notion of feminism itself. Melissa Hield, a late 70s academic and feminist, embodies the complete opposite of these political ideologies.

        Melissa Hield is a woman for all women. As an avid supporter of abortion, women’s elevation in the workplace, and women’s rights as a whole, Melissa shows her support for women everywhere. Her versatility is not exclusive to race or class but extends beyond. She embodies the very characteristics of feminism, which is seen through her commitment to the People’s History in Texas and her desire to advance women’s rights, even today, through attending protests in support of women’s bodily autonomy. By obtaining her master’s and working toward her Ph.D. at UT, Melissa actively fought the prejudices and expectations the 70s perpetuated for women, which is precisely why she is so important. She battled the conservative social context of a world that did not want women to succeed, ultimately working in state government with Ann Richards, the second female governor of Texas, herself.

1970s: Melissa Hield