Swedish pop star Robyn wants more women to make careers for themselves in technology. So she's launching a special festival aimed at opening young girls' eyes to the creative possibilities of studying technology.
The Tekla festival, which will be held April 18, came about after Robin Carlsson (aka Robyn) was awarded KTH Royal Institute of Technology's annual Great Prize, in 2013. Like the Nobel Prize, the Swedish university's honour comes with one condition: that the recipient holds a seminar at the university.
Robyn gladly accepted the task, but instead of targeting university students, she's aiming at girls 11 to 18.
"I thought of KTH's motto, 'Science and Art', and wanted to do something to inspire girls who are curious about technology, while at the same time highlighting that too few women are applying to KTH programs," Robyn says.
Technology has historically been dominated by men, and progress toward gender balance has been slow. Today, about 34 percent of new students at KTH are women, and every fourth engineer in the labor market is a woman. Meanwhile, there are areas of technology that attract even fewer women: the proportion of women in IT careers is estimated at under 20 percent.
"Tekla is a festival for girls, in which they get to sample different areas of future technology in what I believe will be a fun and imaginative environment."
Tekla is about combining technology and creativity. It's about creating a setting where girls can be inspired and discover new interests. The festival offers something for all students, whether they're science newbies or hardcore nerds. There will be workshops with motivational speakers; and to top it off, Robyn will give a performance, along with Stockholm favorites, Zhala and DJ Lap See.
The even runs from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. April 18. Tekla is organized by KTH and Robyn, with Spotify, Paradox Interactive, Google and Valtech as partners. Tekla is also supported by the organization Popkollo, a volunteer-based organization which runs a music camp for girls.
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