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10 Essential Quotes from Feminist Icon Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie



Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the author of Americanah and We Should All Be Feministswas born today in 1977. In celebration of her birthday we've combined a list of 10 quotes by Adichie.


“The problem with gender is that it prescribes how we should be rather than recognizing how we are. Imagine how much happier we would be, how much freer to be our true individual selves, if we didn’t have the weight of gender expectations.”

― Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, We Should All Be Feminists

“You can't write a script in your mind and then force yourself to follow it. You have to let yourself be.”
― Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Half of a Yellow Sun


“I am angry. Gender as it functions today is a grave injustice. We should all be angry. Anger has a long history of bringing about positive change, but in addition to being angry, I’m also hopeful because I believe deeply in the ability of human beings to make and remake themselves for the better.”
― Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, TEDxEuston, December 2013


“Culture does not make people. People make culture. If it is true that the full humanity of women is not our culture, then we can and must make it our culture.”

― Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, We Should All Be Feminists

“Many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign. But stories can also be used to empower, and to humanize. Stories can break the dignity of a people. But stories can also repair that broken dignity.”
― Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, TED: Ideas Worth Spreading, July 2009




“We spend too much time teaching girls to worry about what boys think of them. But the reverse is not the case. We don’t teach boys to care about being likable. We spend too much time telling girls that they cannot be angry or aggressive or tough, which is bad enough, but then we turn around and either praise or excuse men for the same reasons. All over the world, there are so many magazine articles and books telling women what to do, how to be and not to be, in order to attract or please men. There are far fewer guides for men about pleasing women.”
― Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, We Should All Be Feminists


“Racism should never have happened and so you don't get a cookie for reducing it.”
― Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah


“If I had not grown up in Nigeria, and if all I knew about Africa were from popular images,I too would think that Africa was a place of beautiful landscapes, beautiful animals, and incomprehensible people, fighting senseless wars, dying of poverty and AIDS, unable to speak for themselves and waiting to be saved by a kind, white foreigner.”
― Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, TED: Ideas Worth Spreading, July 2009

“The real tragedy of our post colonial world is not that the majority of people had no say in whether or not they wanted this new world; rather, it is that the majority have not been given the tools to negotiate this new world.”
― Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Half of a Yellow Sun 

 “In the recent US elections we kept hearing of the Lilly Ledbetter Law. And if we go beyond the nicely alliterative name of that law, it was really about a man and a woman doing the same job, being equally qualified and the man being paid more because he is a man. So, in a literal way, men rule the world. And this made sense a thousand years ago. Because human beings lived then in a world in which physical strength was the most important attribute for survival. The physically stronger person was more likely to lead. And men in general are physically stronger; of course, there are many exceptions. But today we live in a vastly different world. The person more likely to lead is not the physically stronger person, it is the more creative person, the more intelligent person, the more innovative person, and there are no hormones for those attributes. A man is as likely as a woman to be intelligent, to be creative, to be innovative. We have evolved, but it seems to me that our ideas of gender have not evolved.”
― Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, TEDxEuston, December 2013

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