Women of the World: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie


*Picture was taken from blavity.com

To explore the complex world of modern-day feminism, we must take a look at one woman whose name is synonymous with present-day gender equality issues; Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. She may be facing a backlash from her controversial comments on transgender women, but her work speaks for itself. She’s a prominent public speaker on the Ted X network and a recipient of a plethora of prizes and awards including the MacArthur Genius Grant, now she uses her fame to highlight issues facing women today.

Chimamanda was born in the city of Enugu and grew up in a large family, with six siblings. She went on to study medicine at the University of Nigeria and graduated summa cum laude, but later found her true calling in 2003 when she went on to study a Master’s degree in creative writing.

Her writing career began in 1997, when she published a collection of poems entitled Decisions and went on to write critically acclaimed novels such as Purple Hibiscus in 2003 and Half a Yellow Sun in 2006. Throughout her career, she has professed herself as a feminist and used her exceptional education to discuss the issues facing women and Nigeria. Chimamanda learnt her strong female sensibilities from her Mother, Grace Ifeoma, who was the first woman to be registrar at the University of Nigeria. 

In her acceptance speech for the Girls right now award, rather than referencing her own life, she decided to give some advice, we should all live our lives by: “I think our society teaches young girls the idea that likeability is an essential part of the space you occupy in the world,” She exclaimed. “That you’re supposed to twist yourself into shapes to make yourself likeable. That you’re supposed to kind of hold back sometimes, pull back. Don’t quite say, don’t be too pushy … because you have to be likeable. And I say that is bullshit.”

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