Growing up with parents who used to work in science, Dr. Cherry Ringor naturally found it easier to study science herself. This paved the way for a science-related education and eventually, a career as a geologist.
Taking up BS Geology in UP Diliman back in 1991 was a challenge for Dr. Ringor. At that time, the program was still new in the Philippines so there was no “backgrounder” about it back in high school and only a few schools offered it. Geology was also often stereotyped as a course for the men, but she was one of the women who took up the challenge to explore a male-dominated field.
Dr. Ringor took up masters in UP Diliman and her doctorate degree in Kanazawa University, Japan. Now the Deputy Director for Academic Affairs of the Institute of Environmental Science and Meteorology (IESM), she has spent 25 years working in the academe as a scientist and educator. Her research interests include sedimentology, coastal morphology and marine geology.
While studying in Japan with her husband who is also a geologist, Dr. Ringor gave birth to their firstborn son. This part of her life was quite a struggle given the demands of her PhD program and her responsibility as a first time mother.
“We used to put our son in the daycare center when me and my husband were busy doing our research in the lab. And quite often, we would need to call the daycare to extend his stay because we can’t leave our experiments. There were also times when we were so tired and we almost went home forgetting to pick up our kid!” she recalls.
It was through these hilarious incidents that Dr. Ringor realized that mothers will always have flaws. She believes that working mothers should stop pressuring themselves to become a perfect career woman and a perfect mother at the same time. What’s important is they find satisfaction in doing both roles.
“We, working mothers, should always be open to the idea that we are not perfect…You can’t be a perfect mom and have a perfect career at the same time. You don’t have to be guilty for the things you lack and have the serenity that there are things we cannot achieve. Manage expectations when you choose to have a family and career.” she says.
Dr. Ringor also shares how lucky she is that the environment she has been in for the past years has been very supportive of her as a woman scientist. And she is proud to say that compared to other countries, the Philippines has little to no gender bias about women taking up space in science. But she hopes that this would apply, not just in academic institutions, but in other industries too, because men still have the tendency to take bigger roles such as CEOs and managers.
“I’m happy that in my many years of staying in UP and in the College of Science, I have never felt discriminated against because I am a woman. I hope that’s the case with other environments too. I hope that there’s not any bias towards women who would like to pursue their careers in whatever fields anymore and I hope women will be given more opportunities to take up leadership roles.”
Dr. Ringor also wants to remind the younger generation of women to take advantage of the opportunities that were a result of the sacrifices and struggles of women before them; being able to pursue science freely is one of these opportunities.