Stockholm Music Tech Festival launches 50 percent women policy

Published in August 2018 in cooperation with The Local.

A music innovation festival in Stockholm has pledged to include at least 50 percent women across every area of the event, from onstage speakers and performers to the leaders of tech-based workshops.

Stockholm Music Tech Festival launches 50 percent women policy
An event at the previous edition of the festival. Photo: Music Tech Fest

The Music Tech Fest, planned for early September, is taking place in Stockholm after five years as a ‘nomadic’ festival migrating from city to city across the globe.

"This is not just about having more women on panels. Music Tech Fest is 50 percent women researchers, engineers, artists, scientists, hackers, makers, industry representatives and attendees," said Michela Magas, founder of the festival and recently named European Woman Innovator of the Year.

She described Stockholm as the "perfect location" for the 50 percent women event, referencing the city's 'A Woman's Place' campaign which has seen numerous businesses commit to a set of guidelines aimed at promoting gender equality. The Swedish capital was also chosen due to its history of innovation and a globally influential music industry.

The '50 percent women' policy means that there will be no more than 50 percent male participants; while half of those taking part identify as women, five percent of those involved identify as neither male nor female.

"We can't afford to miss out on any intelligence or perspectives which is why Music Tech Fest is 50 percent women," Festival Director Andrew Dubber said, adding that he hoped for a 50:50 gender split to become "utterly unremarkable".

"We believe if more women were in charge of decision making, the world would be a richer and fairer place - and that if women are at the forefront and more visible in the mainstream of technology."

Some of the events on the agenda include English singer Imogen Heap, who will lead a laboratory on blockchain technology as well as performing, and a 24-hour creative lab hosted by NASA scientist and musical instrument designer Kelly Snook.  

The festival will take place between September 7th and 9th, featuring a range of performances, hackathons, workshops, and creative labs.