July 15, 2015 2:49 AM EDT At 20 years old, Mhairi Black may be the youngest lawmaker in the U.K. Parliament since 1667, but she has already shown to her peers in the House of Commons that when it comes to issues of social justice, she will pull no punches.
In her stunning debut speech Tuesday, the Member of Parliament for the Scottish constituency of Paisley and Renfrewshire South attacked the government for rising poverty levels, the reliance on food banks and cuts to the welfare system.
Black, who has just graduated from Glasgow University, said Britain had “one of the most uncaring, uncompromising and out-of-touch governments that the U.K. has seen since Thatcher.”
She called out the chancellor George Osborne for abolishing housing support for under-21-year-olds, saying that, “We are now in the ridiculous situation whereby, because I am an MP … I am also the only 20-year-old in the whole of the U.K. the chancellor is prepared to help with housing.” (British lawmakers who do not live in London get housing subsidies from the government.)
Black’s Scottish National Party won an unprecedented number of seats in May’s general election, and she lambasted their political rivals, the Labour Party, for forgetting “the very people they are supposed to represent.”
She ended her rousing speech by calling on all the parties of the opposition to work together to “be the signpost of a better society.”
17 of History’s Most Rebellious Women Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina of Pussy Riot, Russia
Members of the feminist punk rock collective were jailed after protesting Russian President Putin in a church. The group has since used its notoriety to promote human rights issues. The very name of the band is meant to turn something passive into something powerful. Yuri Kozyrev—Noor for TIME Tawakul Karman, Yemen
Tawakul Karman, chair of Women Journalists Without Chains — a Yemeni group that defends human rights and freedom of expression — pressured former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down from power, which he held from 1978 to 2012. She was arrested several times during her peaceful protests. Hani Mohammed—AP Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar
Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu has been the foremost leader in the effort to democratize the Southeast Asian nation as well as a courageous advocate for human rights and peaceful revolution. She spent 15 years under house arrest when the government refused to cede power to her after her party was elected.
Alison Wright—Corbis Corazon Aquino, the Philippines
When Corazon Aquino's senator husband was assassinated in 1983, Aquino ran against 20-year autocrat Ferdinand Marcos in his stead. Though Marcos claimed victory, Aquino led a peaceful revolution across the nation of impoverished islands. Aquino became President of the Philippines upon Marcos' resignation. Willia Vicoy— Reuters/Corbis Phoolan Devi, India Phoolan Devi began a streak of violent robberies across northern and central India, targeting upper castes. In 1981 she led her gang of bandits to massacre more than 20 men in the high-caste village where her former lover was killed. Devi negotiated her sentence with the Indian government to 11 years in jail. Getty Images Angela Davis, the U.S. Angela Davis, a political activist, scholar and author, was accused of supplying the gun in the death of a federal judge. She fled, landing her a spot on the Most Wanted list. Davis was caught in New York but was acquitted in 1972, backed by activist supporters who demanded her freedom. Hulton Archive—Getty Images Golda Meir, IsraelAlthough best known as Israel's Prime Minister during the 1973 Yom Kippur War, Meir made her mark on the revolutionary Zionist movement during the pre-state period when during a 1948 trip to the U.S., she raised $50 million from the Jewish diaspora community, making a state of Israel possible. Bettmann—Corbis Vilma Lucila Espín, Cuba The spirit of the Cuba's communist revolution was most vividly embodied by its "First Lady," Vilma Lucila Espín. After training as a chemical engineer, Espín took up arms against the Batista dictatorship in the 1950s and debunked the notion of the docile Caribbean woman with her full army fatigues. AP Janet Jagan, Guyana
Chicago-born Janet Jagan and her husband founded the People's Progressive Party in Guyana, which sought to promote Marxist ideals. Her hand in protests got her thrown in jail by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. She was elected Guyana's first female President in 1997. Harry Benson—Getty Images Jiang Qing, China
After marrying Chairman Mao Zedong in 1938, Jiang Qing climbed the ladder of the Communist Party, eventually becoming the leader of the infamous Gang of Four. Jiang refused to apologize for the criminal charges that were eventually brought against her, instead spending a decade in prison before dying.
Bettmann—Corbis Nadezhda Krupskaya, RussiaAlong with fellow radical Vladimir Lenin, Nadezhda Krupskaya helped set up the League of Struggle for the Emancipation of the Working Class in 1895. Police arrested them both, and they married while exiled in Siberia. After her release in 1901, she ran Iskra (the Spark), an international newspaper for Marxists. Hulton-Deutsch Collection—Corbis Susan B. Anthony, the U.S. In 1851, Susan B. Anthony met fellow women's-rights advocate Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the outspoken duo began touring the country arguing the case for women's suffrage.U.S. marshals arrested Anthony for voting illegally in 1872. She died before the 19th Amendment was passed. Frances Benjamin Johnston—Corbis Emmeline Pankhurst, Britain<br Emmeline Pankhurst formed the Women's Social and Political Union in Britain, which carried out public demonstrations and did not shy away from arson, vandalism or hunger strikes. Pankhurst was routinely arrested, but she never strayed from her pursuit of women's suffrage. Bettmann—Corbis Harriet Tubman, the U.S. Harriet Tubman, who was born a slave in 1820, fled Maryland for the free state of Pennsylvania. Over the years, she went on 19 missions to rescue more than 300 slaves on the Underground Railroad. During the Civil War, she was the first woman to lead a military expedition, liberating more than 700 slaves.
Corbis Mary Wollstonecraft, BritainIn 18th century Britain, Mary Wollstonecraft made the unprecedented claim that the rights of women are equal to those of men. In her two most famous works, A Vindication of the Rights of Men (1790) and A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1791), she takes on Edmund Burke with her then-radical feminism. Hulton Archive—Getty Images Joan of Arc, France Spurred by dreams in which Christian saints would urge her to fight the English, Joan of Arc famously led the assault that lifted the English siege of the city of Orleans in 1429, turning the tide in favor of the French. But a few years later, Joan was captured and burned in a public square on grounds of witchcraft. Getty Images Boudica, BritainIn the 1st century A.D., Boudica, Queen of the Iceni rebelled against her daughters were raped and she was publicly flogged by Roman officials. Boudica led a coalition of tribes on a revenge mission and razed ancient London. Though her rebellion failed, she is remembered as one of Britain's original nationalist heroes. Hulton Archive—Getty Images
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