10 Powerful Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Quotes That Will Shake You

In 2012, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie gave a TED Talk that was heard around the world, so much so, that Beyonce sampled a part of it on her hit single, Flawless.

But even before that, Nigerian born award-winning writer, activist, lecturer, and McArthur Fellow Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was one of our all time favorite #girlcrushes, with strong, salient views on feminism, femininity, and sexuality.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Quotes

Having immigrated to the US as a young scholar, Adichie is an honorary Doctor of Humane letters, an Orange Prize for Fiction winner, a NY Times bestseller, and the center of two viral TED Talks .

Her glossy credits reel also includes being the face of the Boots No7 make-up line, not to mention being a continued voice against racism and gender inequality.To celebrate her genius, honesty, and talent, we’ve compiled a list of 10 of her most thought-provoking, inspiring, and insightful quotes that will leave you literally shaken to your core.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Quotes

ON FEMALE EXPECTATIONS

“We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller. We say to girls, you can have ambition, but not too much. You should aim to be successful, but not too successful. Otherwise, you would threaten the man. Because I am female, I am expected to aspire to marriage. I am expected to make my life choices always keeping in mind that marriage is the most important. Now marriage can be a source of joy and love and mutual support but why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage and we don’t teach boys the same? We raise girls to see each other as competitors not for jobs or accomplishments, which I think can be a good thing, but for the attention of men. We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings in the way that boys are.”

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Quotes

ON GETTING IT RIGHT

“I often make the mistake of thinking that something that is obvious to me is obvious to everyone else.”

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Quotes

ON BEING INQUISITIVE

“If you don’t understand, ask questions. If you’re uncomfortable about asking questions, say you are uncomfortable about asking questions and then ask anyway. It’s easy to tell when a question is coming from a good place. Then listen some more. Sometimes people just want to feel heard. Here’s to possibilities of friendship and connection and understanding.”

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Quotes

ON SHAME & PRETENSE

“We teach girls shame. ‘Close your legs. Cover yourself.’ We make them feel as though being born female they’re already guilty of something. And so, girls grow up to be women who cannot say they have desire. They grow up to be women who silence themselves. They grow up to be women who cannot say what they truly think. And they grow up — and this is the worst thing we do to girls — they grow up to be women who have turned pretense into an art form.”

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Quotes

ON CREATING CHANGE

“For progress to be made, I think it’s necessary to reach out to people who don’t necessarily agree.”

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Quotes

ON STEREOTYPING A NATION

“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 Quotes

ON FEMALE SEXUALITY

“The idea that sex is something a woman gives a man, and she loses something when she does that, which again for me is nonsense. I want us to raise girls differently where boys and girls start to see sexuality as something that they own, rather than something that a boy takes from a girl.”

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Quotes

ON THE GLASS CEILING

“Never ever accept ‘Because You Are A Woman’ as a reason for doing or not doing anything”

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Quotes

ON RAISING A FEMINIST DAUGHTER

“Teach her to reject likeability. Her job is not to make herself likeable, her job is to be her full self, a self that is honest and aware of the equal humanity of other people.”

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Quotes

ON KNOWING YOUR AWESOME SELF

“Of course I am not worried about intimidating men. The type of man who will be intimidated by me is exactly the type of man I have no interest in.”

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Quotes

ON BEING UNMARRIED

“A woman at a certain age who is unmarried, our society teaches her to see it as a deep personal failure. And a man, after a certain age isn’t married, we just think he hasn’t come around to making his pick.”

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Quotes

ON TRAVELLING

“I think you travel to search and you come back home to find yourself there.”


Judette Coward

A fierce entrepreneur always in high heels, I’m a producer, writer, entrepreneur, educator, digital strategist, and all-around #bossbabe. I dream, do, think and create and joyfully share my offerings with the world
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Judette Coward

A fierce entrepreneur always in high heels, I’m a producer, writer, entrepreneur, educator, digital strategist, and all-around #bossbabe. I dream, do, think and create and joyfully share my offerings with the world

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