Tech careers are available to everyone, said Ventura Rangel.
Kansas City Women in Technology, a nonprofit dedicated to growing the number of women in technology careers, played host to its second annual TechWalk fashion show, showcasing female tech professionals on the runway, said Rangel, event director for KCWiT.
The goal is to inspire young girls or women changing careers to move into the tech industry, she said.
“Hopefully [attendees saw] a familiar face, or someone they can relate to or hearing about a career path that looks exciting. We are giving them the tools that they need and encouraging them to step in and start exploring those opportunities for themselves,” said Rangel.
Wednesday’s TechWalk at Plexpod Crossroads is the second iteration of the five-year old KCWiT program TechTalk, which presents events and activities relating to tech, she added, with previous topics covering data science panels, coding projects, or internet safety.
“Some of the [fashion show] models may not be big-name people, but they are people who have their hands on technology everyday,” she added.
The 17 different models operate in fields ranging from IT development to software engineering, said Rangel, and even included one of two high-school students, Hannah Poe, who mentors youth in programming.
TechWalk encouraged the models to wear exactly what they wear to work, she added.
“If they work from home and wear pajamas every day then we want them to walk down the runway in pajamas,” said Rangel. “If they have to dress up for board meetings we want them to wear that on the runway to show all the different areas that impact what they do and what that looks like.”
The event is based on the “This is What an Engineer Looks Like” campaign that showcased real women internationally in engineering careers, said Rangel.
“It featured women of all different engineering backgrounds, of all different ethnicities, and ages, to show that anybody could be an engineer,” she said. “We wanted to do that here at home.”
“I hope that [in the same way, the TechWalk] can release some of the biases people have of what it looks like to be in technology,” she added.