Every Swedish 16-Year-Old to Receive Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s “We Should All Be Feminists”

by Melissa Ragsdale

The Swedish Women’s Lobby has paired with publisher Albert Bonniers Förlag to give a copy of Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s essay “We Should All Be Feminists” to every 16-year-old in Sweden.

Author of the acclaimed novels Americanah and Half of a Yellow Sun, and one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People, Adichie is a powerful human rights activist. “We Should All Be Feminists” is based on a TED talk she gave in 2012, which has gained more than 2.3 million views and was sampled in Beyoncé’s “Flawless.”

In the 52-page essay, Adichie calls on people of all gender-identifications to view feminism as an issue of justice, saying “My own definition of a feminist is a man or a woman who says, ‘Yes, there’s a problem with gender as it is today and we must fix it, we must do better. All of us,women and men, must do better.”

The giveaway aims to give this generation of Swedish teens an informed understanding of gender inequality. “This is the book that I wish all of my male classmates would have read when I was 16,” said Clara Berglund, chair of the Swedish Women’s Lobby. “It feels so important to contribute to this project. It is a gift to all second-grade high-school students, but it is also a gift to ourselves and future generations.”

In her message to the teenagers receiving the essay, Adichie said, “When I was 16, I don’t think I knew what the world ‘feminist’ meant. I don’t think I knew the word at all. But I was a feminist. And I hope that the 16-year-olds who read this book in Sweden will also decide that they are feminists. Mostly, I hope very soon that one day we will not need to be feminists, because we will live in a world that is truly just and equal.”

Photo of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie by Chris Boland.

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