Women break barriers in the workforce

By Lashay Smith
May 1, 2023

Fourty-seven percent of the global workforce is women. Photo from Pexels by Christina Morillo.
Fourty-seven percent of the global workforce is women. Photo from Pexels by Christina Morillo.

Women hold some of the top positions in companies today, often running their own businesses and dominating their fields. The three following women hold jobs as dental assistants, business owners, and the Interim President of Cabrini University, inspiring younger generations not to be discouraged by statistics. Forty-seven percent of the global workforce is women, and only roughly 27% of women are in leadership positions.

Fashionista to Philly-based nail tech

Zania Stotts, owner of Nails By Bouj, is a nail tech and business owner based in Philadelphia. She grew up dancing and playing in makeup, but she never knew being a nail tech could become a job she would love. It’s a career that brings her an income while also allowing her to be creative. 

“I was planning to go away for college in the fall,” Stotts said. “At the time I didn’t have a school selected but I knew wherever I went, I would still have to work to have my own money. I’ve always loved the beauty industry, and I’ve tried my hand in many different beauty and fashion-related things through middle and high school.” 

A short square nail set by Stotts. Photo by Zania Stotts.

Stotts started her nail tech journey in 2021, in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. She began practicing in her house with an acrylic hand. Today, she is almost three years in as a Philly nail tech. This journey was important to Stotts because there weren’t many nail techs that looked like her and she wanted to change that. Her services include nail art ranging from Cookie Monster themes to glitz and glam birthday sets in various nail shapes.

“It started as a hobby that I knew I could make money from but I definitely never anticipated myself to still be doing it for this long,” she said. 

As a business owner, Stotts spends more than 30 hours a week maintaining her business. She has more than 10 clients a week and when not doing nails, she works to find ways to promote her business, build partnerships, and motivate young girls to pursue careers that they love.

She’s proud of her success and advises others, “Times are beginning to change. Women are beginning to break down barriers when it comes to entrepreneurship. Women in business were something that not many people supported, especially in earlier times. I think a lot of women have been becoming entrepreneurs, especially young girls and I recommend it.”

Big smiles from a dental assistant

Shaniyah Williams is a dental assistant at Quality Community Healthcare, located in North Philadelphia. She’s a recent graduate of Manor College, and six months after receiving her associate’s degree, she jumped into her career. Not only is she proud of the work that she does, she continues to put her best self forward while making her patients comfortable and happy with their results. 

She explained, “During a typical day for me as a woman dental assistant, I take multiple X-RAYS, participate and aid in all sorts of procedures such as fillings and extractions along with the responsibilities of cleaning, setting up, sanitizing and sterilizing all instruments and rooms all to ensure the best quality of care.” 

College prepared Williams for the dream that she is currently living, but the one thing that keeps her going is adding to the number of Black women in the field of dentistry. 

“To be a woman and to have such an outstanding career feels like a dream. Growing up I never would’ve thought I would’ve gone into dentistry but to be a Black woman in this field is astonishing because there are very few of us in this career choice. It feels like I am making such an impact on little girls that look like me.” 

Williams says her advice to women working more than the average full-time hours is to drink water and practice self-care. 

She advised, “Get plenty of rest and prepare your mind and body for what is ahead of you. A refreshed mind and body will be able to get everything that needs to be done, done.”

Cabrini is female-dominated

The total percentage of women employed at Cabrini University is 56%, while men who are employed at Cabrini is 44%. Women at Cabrini hold positions as coaches, professors, heads of departments, and even president.

Last year, Helen Drinan became the interim president of Cabrini University. Before landing her position, she was the President of Simmons University for 12 years, retiring in 2020. Over her years of working, she introduced strategic plans to help universities out of financial troubles and was an advocate for women’s education and empowerment.

Helen Drinan will remain as the Interim President at Cabrini until the end of the three-year plan. Photo from Simmons University.

“I was a president for 12 years and the numbers were about 15% to 20% of college presidents were women as opposed to men. I worked in other positions before I was a president of a university and it was not unusual for me to be in an environment where women were the typical leaders. Having those experiences made my experience being president easier, even though it is not a female-dominated field.”

Health challenges and the pressure of being a college president led to Drinan’s retirement. But she soon returned to doing what she loves.

“As I was getting through the tail end of my treatment, after being diagnosed with a chronic immune disease of the eyes, I was asked if I would take a short consulting assignment,” she said. “It was virtual but it really gave me the confidence to get back in.”

Drinan said when the opportunity to apply for the job at Cabrini popped up, she was ready to take it.

Drinan advises all women graduating and entering prospective fields, “If you have the right credentials and some experience there should be no reason that you can’t see your way to a high position.”

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Lashay Smith

My name is Lashay Smith and I am a senior Digital Communications and Social Media major here at Cabrini University. I am also the first podcast editor for The Loquitur. My favorite things to do outside of class and the Loquitur are shopping, making TikTok's, recording and producing my own podcast, and hanging out with friends and family. A fun fact about me is that I can name all of the presidents of the United States in order. During my time at Cabrini, I joined Social Nexus which is a social media agency ran by students on campus, I also joined the Loquitur as an editor for the 2022-2023 school year. The type of content that I like to report on would be all things entertainment and social justice issues. My goal as an editor for the Loquitur is to create great content while also informing many people about the things that are happening on and off campus.

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