Gender equality

Every 16-year-old in Sweden will receive “We Should All Be Feminists”

Author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie attends the Girls Write Now Awards. (Janette Pellegrini/Getty Images for Girls Write Now)

Sweden announced last week that successful lobbying from Swedish Women’s Lobby and publisher Albert Bonniers, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s feminist manifesto, “We Should All Be Feminists,” will be distributed to every 16-year-old high school student in the country. The essay is based on Nigerian-born Adichie’s popular 2012 Ted Talk of the same name, which has been viewed over 2 million times, and sampled by Beyonce in her song “Flawless.” “We Should All Be Feminists” was first published in English last year.

“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,’” Adichie writes. “All of us, women and men, must do better.”

Clara Berglund of the Swedish Women’s Lobby called Adichie’s work “a gift to all second-grade high-school students, but it is also a gift to ourselves and future generations.” The essay, which will likely be worked into school curriculums, is meant to stir conversation about gender in Sweden, where gender equality is considered a cornerstone of society.

In a video recorded for the essay’s launch, Adichie said that for her, “feminism is about justice.”

“When I was 16, I don’t think I knew what the word ‘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 that will read this book in Sweden will also decide that they’re feminists,” she said. “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.” In her essay, the novelist is also critical of modern masculinity, which she describes as a “hard, small cage” that forces men to suppress their emotions.

In response to the announcement, The Guardian compiled a list of 21 other books teenagers should read.

Read the full story at The Guardian.

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