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Why a Swedish pop icon is going back to school

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Robyn performing at Popaganda festival in Stockholm last year. Photo: Maja Suslin/TT
16:39 CET+01:00
Dance music star Robyn is hosting her second festival designed to get more school girls to consider careers in tech.

Robyn launched the first Tekla festival in collaboration with KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm last April and what was supposed to be a one-off event is getting an encore this spring.

For the second year running, girls between 11 and 18 will be given the chance to experiment with different technologies from robot programming to game design, music production and 3D printing.

They will then be treated to a live performance from the 'With Every Heartbeat' star and a DJ session from Swedish dance act Y + M.

"As a younger girl I didn't feel that I was encouraged to explore my interests in technology as much as the guys were," Robyn said in a statement this week.

"I think that Tekla can help demystify technology and promote girls' curiosity about things that they are not otherwise exposed to."

One of Sweden's most successful international recording artists, Robyn is also a long-time campaigner for gender equality in her home country and has pioneered using new technology in her work.
 
Her song 'Fembot' includes the line: "Once you gone tech you ain't never going back". 
 
In 2013 she was awarded KTH's annual Great Prize, which recognizes Swedish citizens who help their country to progress through science or art.
 

More than 400 places are being offered at the festival, well over double the number available in 2015.

KTH President Peter Gudmunson told The Local he hoped the event would provide inspiration for future female tech stars in Stockholm, one of Europe's hottest startup hubs.

"Tekla offers a setting where girls can see for themselves what they can do with technology – it's an eye-opening experience that could help determine their future plans."

Registration for the festival starts on March 1st via Tekla's website.

News of the event's revival came just a day after one of Stockholm's most influential incubators, Sting, announced that half of the startups given cash in its most recent investment round were run or co-founded by women. It was the first time in the organisation's history that there had been a gender-equal split in cash handouts, with many in the city's tech scene turning to social media to praise the initiative.

Despite the country's image as a leading nation when it comes to gender equality, three quarters of all board members in the Nordic nation are men.

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