Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions

From the best-selling author of Americanah and We Should All Be Feminists comes a powerful new statement about feminism today—written as a letter to a friend.

Here are fifteen invaluable suggestions–compelling, direct, wryly funny, and perceptive–for how to empower a daughter to become a strong, independent woman. Offering advice such as teaching a young girl to read widely and recognize the role of language in reinforcing unhealthy cultural norms; encouraging her to choose a helicopter, and not only a doll, as a toy if she so desires; having open conversations with her about appearance, identity, and sexuality; and debunking the myths that women are somehow biologically designed to be in the kitchen, and that men can “allow” women to have full careers, Dear Ijeawele goes right to the heart of sexual politics in the twenty-first century. It will start a new and urgently needed conversation about what it really means to be a woman today.

Dear Ijeawele, Or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions is licensed for publication in 19 languages.

Awards/ Distinctions

  • Winner of the Grand Prix de l’Héroïne Madame Figaro (nonfiction), 2017

Praise for:

Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions

"When historians write about feminism in the early 21st century, they may well begin with We Should All Be Feminists, a TED talk Adichie gave in 2012; by the time she published a version as a short book, countless listeners knew her words by heart. This new book, [Dear Ijeawele], is another brief manifesto, and it is easy to imagine her speaking it in the same contralto. Each suggestion starts with an imperative. Some are concrete: ‘Teach Chizalum to read.’ Others are more abstract: ‘Teach her that the idea of “gender roles” is absolute nonsense.’ Embedding us in the intimacy of a friendship, the prose makes reflections that might seem common sense in the abstract feel like discoveries. The form of the letter also enacts what Adichie says is her one fixed belief: ‘Feminism is always contextual.’"

The New York Times Book Review

"Personal and urgent...Adichie is passionate about equality. Her new book offers 15 ways that we can encourage girls to be strong, to plant seeds of feminism. But more than that, Adichie hopes the book will help ‘move us toward a world that is more gender equal.’ Doing so means knocking down ingrained assumptions about how men and women think and behave."

The Washington Post

"Adichie epitomizes and epistolizes our potential in Dear Ijeawele."

Vanity Fair

"Adichie has partly written Dear Ijeawele to reclaim the word feminism from its abusers and misusers. Her advice is not only to provide children with alternatives—to empower boys and girls to understand there is no single way to be—but also to understand that the only universal in this world is difference.  Adichie is a brilliant novelist and a serious thinker, and she is also someone who makes no apology for her own trivial interests. Her understanding of feminism is intertwined with her understanding that we all want to be more than one thing."

The Guardian (UK)

"Wise and inspiring. Adichie, who has a daughter of her own, writes from experience in a voice that’s companionable and open. She addresses critical mother-daughter issues such as sex, clothes and makeup, and she espouses an attitude of self-determination when it comes to marriage and career.  Her parental advice will stand the test of time."

Book Page

"Excellent. Adichie shines light on gender issues in modern society through wise advice dispensed with droll wit and deep earnestness. Writing with tender conviction, she explains that to be a feminist, women do not have to give up their femininity...But it’s not just women learning to navigate the confusing waters of gender identity: Adichie also offers guidance for teaching men how to embrace feminism and reject rigid gender roles, too...a fast read and vital addition to all collections. Anyone interested in social change will enjoy."

Library Journal

"Raising a next-generation feminist is no small job, but Adichie approaches the task with tenderness in her forthright advice to a friend...Adichie envisions ways mothers can nurture strong girls, from rejecting traditional gender roles to leading by example...Dear Ijeawele is a volume as fierce and illuminating as bringing up a confident daughter, both with love at their core."

Oprah.com, “2 Books About Being a Woman Everyone Needs to Read”

"In We Should All Be Feminists, Adichie distilled the essence of feminism into a powerful treatise. Now, in Dear Ijeawele, she goes a step further and covers every feminist topic you can imagine–domestic chores, gendered language, female sexuality, objectification, race, and much more. I am amazed at Adichie’s ability to communicate so effectively and efficiently. If you liked We Should All Be Feminists, you will LOVE Dear Ijeawele."

Book Riot, “The Best Books We Read in February”

"Adichie’s suggestions are…full of her dry wit, and range from the obvious (‘Do it together’) to the bold (‘Reject likeability’). The more radical suggestions are the ones that encourage mothers to be complete human beings, not merely ‘hosts.’ And as much as this is a book written to mothers of daughters, fathers of daughters would benefit from reading it, too; parents in general would do well to try to raise children who won't have to grow up and read it at all...Powerful and life-affirming, offering wisdom for everyone."

The Village Voice