Dear Ijeawele

Dear Ijeawele

This is a small book written in form of a letter, by the world renowned Nigerian Author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Adichie is the author of 4 novels including the best sellers Americanah and Half of the yellow sun. Her friend who just had a baby girl wrote to her on how to raise her daughter as a feminist. Adichie felt like it was a huge task for her at first because she herself is still figuring life out.

Adichie who is also a mother to a baby girl, made a list of 15 compelling suggestions for her friend. She encouraged her friend, Ijeawele to share childcare equally with her husband, Chidi. Chidi should never be said to be babysitting, because it is also the father’s responsibility to look after the child. Childcare might not be exactly 50/50 but  according to Adichie “you will know it is equal when you do not resent him”. She also told Ijeawele to go back to work if she wants to because of the “self-fulfilment that comes with doing and earning”. This is a positive trait her daughter can learn.

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Adichie also advised against telling the little girl not to do something “just because she is a girl”. She said to encourage the girl to read books about anything and everything. Since Ijeawele herself is a Nigerian woman, Adichie talked about the Nigerian society and aspects of the Igbo culture. She said the little girl should be taught to “think of herself as, among other things, a proud Igbo woman” and to embrace the aspects of the culture that are beautiful to her and reject the aspects that are not. She also spoke against teaching her daughter to aspire to marriage, she should get married because she wants to not because she sees it as an achievement.

Adichie mentioned the fact that she chose not to change her surnam after marriage and how she believes it should be a personal choice. She above all wished that the little girl will grow up to be full of options.

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