How do we break down barriers to girl’s STEM education to create a more gender-equitable education system worldwide?

Lead2030 Challenge fdor SDG 4 Supported by Bristol Myers Squibb


How do we break down barriers to girl’s STEM education to create a more gender-equitable education system worldwide?

At Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS), we work every day to transform patients’ lives through science. We combine the agility of a biotech with the reach and resources of an established pharmaceutical company to create a global leading biopharma company powered by talented individuals who drive scientific innovation. With this, we are well on track with our mission to discover, develop, and deliver innovative medicines that help patients prevail over serious diseases. As global citizens, we also work sustainably and responsibly to create a positive impact in the communities where we live and work. Our global business is conducted with the utmost integrity and transparency. We support programs, initiatives and organizations that help improve health, expand research opportunities, promote science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and deliver basic human services to our communities.

Today, we see technological advances that we could only dream about 25 years ago, especially in STEM areas. Despite this progress, gender inequalities still exist which hinder the ability of girls from all backgrounds to receive equal access and achieve equal outcomes in the areas of education and training.

Sustainable Development Goal 4 aims to close this gap, particularly target 4.5, which aims to eliminate gender disparities in education and ensure equal access to all levels of education and vocational training for the vulnerable, including persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples and children in vulnerable situations.

At Bristol Myers Squibb, we are proud to support the Lead 2030 Challenge for SDG 4. As a company, we truly believe in investing and developing the next generation of female leaders despite the discouraging statistics seen worldwide. As we look to support SDG 4, we are seeking to reduce gender disparities to create a more gender-equitable education system globally and to empower girls to transform communities around the world. BMS believes that everyone irrespective of gender should have equal access to education and future opportunities. To do this, BMS welcomes solutions that encompass intersectionality to deepen the understanding of and ability to improve the real-life experiences of marginalized groups in STEM.

As a company, BMS has a long standing commitment to a gender balanced workforce and a diverse pipeline of future talent. We engage our workforce through People & Business Resource Groups (PBRGs) as a transformative business strategy to attract, retain, develop, and reward our most valuable resource, our people, and to support our Company mission of helping patients to prevail over serious diseases. We have:

  • Achieved gender parity across the enterprise globally and have committed to achieving gender parity at the executive levels by 2022.
  • Partnered with New City Kids (NCK), a non-profit that offers after school programming for local low-income youth, on building STEM awareness, providing STEM scholarships, and mentorship with BMS employees.
  • Partnered with Drexel University on providing STEM scholarships to students with high financial needs and mentorship opportunities.
  • Collaborated with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to develop a first-of-its-kind strategic alliance to draw on the strengths of BMS and HBCU communities to attract top HBCU talent to BMS and the bio-pharma industry by developing and promoting sustainable career opportunities at all career levels.
  • Partnered with Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA), a global organization focused on empowering HOSA-Future Health Professionals to become leaders in the global health community.

This challenge welcomes solutions from young innovators that include interventions such as:

  • Removing barriers for women and girls to access education in areas where large gender gaps are present.
  • Educating the government, employers, academic institutions, and family members on the business case for gender equity.
  • Eliminating gender and other stereotypes from learning materials and teaching approaches.
  • Creating a teacher mentorship/training program that focuses on gender-responsive pedagogies and invest in platforms that helps women from all backgrounds find professional careers in the STEM field.
  • Investing in girls’ education in STEM through funding and scholarship programs.
  • Creating affordable distance learning opportunities that prioritize girls’ safety.

Challenge crtieria


Aligned: Evidently aligned with the Lead2030 Challenge for SDG 4 supported by Bristol Myers Squibb. See ‘About’.

Youth-led: Founded by a person aged 18 – 30.

Focused: Well-structured time horizon, identified key stakeholders and beneficiaries, and proposed outcomes that are reasonable and well thought out.

Market ready: Product/service already in market or ready to go to market.

Impactful: Solutions must have a positive social impact, for example generating employment, or developing skills.

Measurable: Impacts of solutions must have been adequately measured and/or be measurable.

Financially viable: Must be able to achieve efficiency and to survive independently through the resources they generate and/or the investments and donations they attract.

Scalable: Potential to perform as well or better after expanding in scope or size and/or being transported to other regions.



The winning solution will receive:

  • Sponsorship to participate in the One Young World Summit 2022 in Manchester from 5 to 8 September
  • A US$50,000 grant from Bristol Myers Squibb
  • 12 months of mentorship from a team of Bristol Myers Squibb professionals. The mentorship team will work to accelerate your solution based on the needs of your initiative or organisation, such as:
    • Business strategy
    • Best practices for data collection
    • Monitoring and evaluation
    • Product design


  • 29 January 2022: Applications close.
  • 7 February 2022: Shortlisted candidates confirmed.
  • 21 March 2022: Lead2030 Challenge Winner confirmed. 

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