Opportunities come once and privileges are rare. Combining the opportunity and privilege to interview a woman of substance, whom I admire from afar is a bomb. Having known Mary for a while, though from a distance, as per observer, I knew she was just the right person to deal with this topic that touches on women. Her love for women and her desire to see to the growth of other women is contagious. I’m sure you’ll learn more than enough from her wealth of knowledge.
Kindly introduce yourself, ma’am..
Ogundimu Mary is a self-conscientious motivated lady.
Passionate about women development, advancement and all round establishment.
She studied Mass Communication in Moshood Abiola Polytechnic and National Open University of Nigeria. Shes fondly called “MD” on the award-winning show, the Ambassadors Radio show on Unilag FM where she co-hosts the weekly series of interviews with outstanding entrepreneurs, using their stories to inspire over 5000 youths in Lagos. She works with Access bank as an Administrative Assistant (Quality Control) and is the founder of The Multiwoman Network and the host of MultiWoman show on YouTube.
She is an Alumni of SMILE social Innovators Program, Alumni Niramala Chellarams Accelerator Program, Member of YALI, Member of The World Changers Youth Initiative. She’s a Speaker, a Content developer, writer and singer. She once served as a reporter in Leadership Newspapers on Crime and judicial beat. She’s a Child of God and an addicted worshipper.
What sparked your interest in women and their development?
My mum has always been my inspiration from day one and it gets me worried when I see some women who are not 100 percent literate use this as an excuse for being less of whom they are meant to be. After having her last child in 2003, in 2006 at age 40, I remember my mum going to enroll to take fashion designing classes, it looked so weird to us all, because we were all grown, at least I was. I didn’t understand until she told me later that while she was a young girl, she had beautiful dreams and aspirations for herself and that she must not die not seeing those dreams come to pass no matter what it will cost her. I held on to these words and I will never let them go. I have seen women die of a broken heart, (I lost an aunt many years ago and the situations around her death isn’t a sweet story for me), I have met ladies, shattered and broken, the future seems hopeless for them. This for me keeps me logged down in women development and I have promised myself that before I die, at least I will impact every woman I come in contact with, and help her be all she has ever dreamt about for herself by God’s grace.
What brought about the multi-woman network?
When I finished my Diploma program at Moshood Abiola Polytechnic at 19, I got an IT placement in Access Bank and after my one-year with them, I got an option of either staying back or resigning. I needed the 40,000 I was earning as salary then so much because I had enrolled to further my education in NOUN, and I wanted to relieve my parents the financial stress of school fees payment as my younger brother was also in school, more so, I wanted to be responsible for my life, so I stayed back. At the same time, my dreams of being a media practitioner would not just let me go, (I studied Mass Communication) and I had to look for every means to make this a reality, so I decided to volunteer as a presenter on The Ambassadors Radio Show with Amb. Prince Joshua Oyeniyi on Unilag Fm. So I was doing my 8-4 job during the week; once a while, taking up event hosting jobs on Saturdays and volunteering at some events; resuming to the studio every Sundays (I was presenting on three shows); developing contents for some magazines and personal use, pursuing my educational degree, functioning at church services and rehearsals and still being the only girl at home (smiles you know what that means in a family). So I got so many questions from people asking how I cope, and I respond, these things are no big deals. Well, I had some people advise me sometimes, that I was doing too much, and I may just collapse, but then, I still wasn’t doing enough I say to myself.
Just in the middle of a random discussion with a friend some years back, he kept saying, Mary, you are a MultiWoman, you are a MultiWoman; how do you cope with all these responsibilities and just jokingly we forgot about the discussion. I think it was at this point I decided to hold on to the name and started doing more findings on women doing a lot for themselves, their families and the society at large. I met some women who stand as mentors to me till date, because they are doing so much to influence everyone around them, and really, most times I say Mary, you are a learner beside this woman (lol). Maybe this can be alluded to my mothers effort in raising me as the only girl child in my family, my mother is a professional caterer, a fashion designer, a hair dresser, she runs a provision store and at different times she displays all these skills excellently, without any affecting the other, I keep wondering, If a woman of her age could do all these, then why can’t I? I don’t have an excuse. The mission of The MultiWoman Network is to raise women who are living a balanced life. Women who are thriving and succeeding in ministry, marriage, career, family, business and every other aspect of their lives, living the life of their dreams. Truth is, a lot of African women are doing so much more than we can imagine, and I ask if we don’t celebrate ourselves who will?
I’ve heard time and time again that women, unlike men are in the habit of tearing other women down, since they haven’t attained to the height of the aspiring woman, What do you have to say about this?
Well for this, I would say the narrative is changing because even women are now conscious of the fact that hating your fellow woman will lead to nowhere but destruction. During the celebration of the International Women’s Day, themed “Press for Progress” this year, what was on the lips of every speaker I listened to is the fact that we need to pull each other up to achieve the kind of progress we desire. Pressing for progress would mean reaching out to your sister, and lending a hand of support to ensure that everyone gets the best, collaborating and sharing information that would better the life of every around you. Personally, I am grateful for the women I have met in my life because never has there been a time when they turn me down and vice versa, we need each other to grow, we need each other to succeed, and we need each other to sprout. Only when we build a community where love forms the basis, can we be sure that our children’s children will not pull down the houses we are building today. We need a community where there is not enmity, where we love and care for each other, and where we grow stronger together
What’s your position on the brouhaha of gender equality?
As much as I understand that I am a woman, and I am specially created in the image of God, every day, I come to this consciousness that I am not inferior or superior to any gender. Does this mean I am in a competition with any other? No! Does this overrule the fact that the man is the head of the home? No! Does this mean that I should not be submissive to my husband? No! Having said this, the war of gender equality or gender equity as some use it (these terms are not the same please) only make me ask a question of How did we get here! Just how, did we get to that point of using directional or in-directional measures to check who should take the lead and who should not? How did we get to the point of drawing margins and setting limits for ourselves? Just how. We are all created with potentials we all are meant to explore these as individuals. We all have our roles to play in the society and I really think the best thing is for us all to play our roles well, the best way we can. Gender equality simply requires equal enjoyment by women and men of socially valued goods, opportunities, resources and rewards.” Women and men have different needs and experiences and accommodation should be made for these differences. This is my position.
With the whole feminism story and the melee surrounding it, what is the role and importance of women in the society?
The role of a woman in the society cannot be overemphasized. A woman is relevant, as much as a man is. Let me quote Napoleon that says Give me good mother and I will give you a good nation (emphasis on good smiles). This is simply to say that the progress of a nation to a large extent depends on the way the women are able to raise their children (this is not to say the men are left out of this though, it’s a collaborative effort), but most importantly, the woman is saddled with this responsibility of proper caring, grooming and training. A woman stands as a vital support system and is expected to function maximally in this area in all ramifications. An educated woman is a plus to the society because she is able to contribute to the development of the society. The famous saying of Brigham Young that educate a woman, you educate a generation explains that once this is done, her family will benefit and the society at large.
What is your final word to women and girls out there?
The kind of power and strength you have been blessed with from creation, because you are a woman is more than human mind can fathom. You are incredibly powerful, therefore, live! Live to your apex! Break your shell, know your worth and live by it. The limitation to stop you has not been created yet, so be all you want to be. ALL! The God factor will only make your journey smooth, so you need Him more than anyone else. Regulate yourself and lead the balanced life. Shine so bright that even darkness disappears at your sound. Live, Learn, Laugh, Love. Be a MultiWoman.