Girl power comes to Leeds International Festival when fashion blogger Susie Bubble joins a panel inspiring more women to become tech creators.
Empowering Women with Tech, a one-day conference, features female industry leaders as diverse as host broadcaster Lauren Laverne and Emmy Lovell, vice president of digital for Warner Music Group.
For full details and tickets for the event - Wednesday, April 26, 2017, 9m to 6pm - see leedsinternationalfestival.com
SKYPE VIDEO: Watch Graham Walker's Skype video preview chat with Susie Bubble on our embedded video player at the top of the page.
The conference will consider misconceptions about women in technology and show the wealth of opportunities a career in digital presents with the aim of encouraging more women into tech industries.
Statistics show only 17 per cent of the digital workforce are females, with less than 10 per cent in leadership roles.
In an exclusive Skype video chat - watch it in full here on our web site - Susie, who has round 700,000 followers on social networks, praised organisers for hosting it in Leeds.
Susie, aged 33, real name Susanna Lau, whose blog Style Bubble has become one of the most successful and widely recognised blogs of its type since it started in 2006, will be discussing the journey of how Style Bubble was created.
She believes social media can give more of a voice to Leeds and the North generally but equally hopes her visit will also encourage men to talk and blog more about fashion.
She said: "I'm really excited to be part of a festival that I don't think has really been done in the UK before. That element of a tech conference with a cultural umbrella of music and tech. It sounds like a South by Soutwest inspired festival. It's also exciting to see it not being in London.
"I think it's so important, especially now post Brexit, that creativity and ideas are not just restricted to capitals or the privileged few, living in big cities. It's very expensive to live in London. I think it's really important that people across the country can gain access, whether its fashion, music or art, so those ideas foster all over the country and it encourages people from everywhere to partake.
"Obviously social media, the internet, is a great way for building your own voice and platform.
She modestly declines from calling herself a pioneer but said: "I see myself as an early adopter, within the fashion blogging community.
"I wouldn't say I'm a hardcore tech person. I'm somebody who works in digital media. I feel like there are way more inspiring people, who are like hardcore coders, getting to that CEO level and new start ups in Silicon Valley. The success stories are out there. But it's still a numbers game where men still heavily outweigh women in the tech field. I don;t see any reason why that should be the case. In my experience a female developer versus male developer, they are just as good as one another. Woen bring just as many good ideas to the table, especially in this industry that is new. It's about innovation and finding new ways of doing things.
"The conference is about empowering women but actually fashion blogging, we are more female than male focussed, so it would be good to get some menswear voices or men just talking about fashion."
Tech strand curator Natasha Sayce-Zelem, one of the UK’s top 100 women working in technology, is 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”
* Empowering Women with Tech, sponsored by Sky and supported by Fruition IT. is at Leeds Dock, The Boulevard, from 9am to 6pm. For more information visit www.leedsinternationalfestival.com