Girls lead the way at festival

Lauren Laverne
Lauren Laverne
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Women will lead the way in a spectacular and ambitious cultural project that takes over the city from today.

Tapping into the city’s emerging digital sector, technology is one of the inaugral Leeds International Festival’s three main strands and 67 per cent of speakers at 15 specific events are female.

It is a deliberate move to link in to a global focus on getting more girls and women to consider a career in technology.

Statistics show only 17 per cent of the digital workforce are females, with less than 10 per cent in leadership roles.

Heading up events is “Empowering Women with Tech”, a one-day conference featuring female industry leaders as diverse as broadcaster Lauren Laverne, international fashion blogger Susie Bubble and Emmy Lovell, vice president of digital for Warner Music Group.

The conference will consider misconceptions about women in technology and show the wealth of opportunities a career in digital presents with the aim of inspiring more females to become tech creators.

Tech strand curator Natasha Sayce-Zelem, one of the UK’s top 100 women working in technology, told City Buzz she was excited to be directing the strand alongside her role as head of technology for Digital Trading at Sky.

She said: “Leeds is just such a vibrant place to work in technology. It has everything going for it – businesses to work for, educational establishments developing the next generation and a meet-up community underpinning technology in the city too, giving people an environment to collaborate and innovate outside of their day jobs. I’m so excited to bring such amazing speakers cementing Leeds’ place as an international hub and that we’re leading the field in actively promoting diversity in tech”