Though about 40 percent of the world’s workforce is women, according to data from the Inter-Parliamentary Union, only 24 percent of all national parliamentarians were female as of 1 December 2018. Because Zonta International believes that young women are the key to women’s advancement in the field of public service, it offers the Young Women in Public Affairs (YWPA) Award, which recognizes young women, ages 16-19, for demonstrating leadership skills and commitment to public service and civic causes, and encourages them to continue their participation in public and political life.
Established in 1990 by Past International President Leneen Forde, Zonta has given 888 awards (includes international awards), totaling US$924,750, to 756 young women representing 56 countries.
The program operates at the Zonta club, district/region and international levels. Zonta clubs provide awards for club recipients, and district/region and international awards are funded by the Zonta International Foundation. District recipients receive US$1,500, and 10 international recipients are selected from the district/region recipients to receive awards of US$4,000 each.
Women, aged 16-19 on 1 April each year, studying at a secondary school, college or university in a Zonta district/region, or who are studying elsewhere but are citizens of a Zonta country, who demonstrate evidence of the following, are eligible to apply.
- Active commitment to volunteerism.
- Experience in local government, student government, or workplace leadership (paid or unpaid).
- Volunteer leadership achievements.
- Knowledge of Zonta International and its programs.
- Support in Zonta International's mission of empowering women worldwide through service and advocacy.
Note that applicants from geographic areas within a Zonta district/region where no clubs are located may apply via a Zonta e-club or directly to the district to be eligible for the district/region and international awards. Z and Golden Z club members are also eligible to apply. Classified members (club members and individuals with direct membership with Zonta International) and employees of Zonta International and Zonta International Foundation, and their family members (ancestors, descendants, adoptees, siblings, nieces or cousins, and those of their spouse or co-habiting partner), are not eligible to apply for the Awards. Previous International Young Women in Public Affairs Award recipients are not eligible to apply.
The application process must start with a Zonta club. All application materials must be received at a Zonta club by the printed deadline. If you downloaded the application, you must contact a Zonta club for deadline information. Please locate the Zonta club nearest you using the Club Locator at www.zonta.org, or e-mail your name and contact information to Zonta International Headquarters at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Zonta clubs each select one application to send to the Zonta governor/region representative. A district/region evaluating committee reviews the applications and selects one applicant per district/region to submit to Zonta International Headquarters. The Zonta International YWPA Committee recommends 10 international recipients from the district/region applications to the Zonta International Board. After approval by the Zonta International Board, the Zonta International Foundation provides awards and certificates to the district/region and international recipients.
Applications for the 2020 Young Women in Public Affairs Award must be received by the assigned deadline that is declared by the applicant's local Zonta club. The 2020 recipients will be chosen by 1 July 2020.
YWPA Awards are made possible by generous contributions to the Zonta International Foundation Young Women in Public Affairs Award Fund.
Below is a list of the 2019 YWPA Awardees. Read more about the 2019 Awardees.
Jennifer Zhang, USA
Amal Qayum, Canada
Katherine Carranza-Bahena, USA
Allison Ruth Cohen, USA
Olivia Amanda Luxon, New Zealand
Breanna Quyan Ng, USA
Claudette Mama Kai Wilson, Ghana
Khushi Shelat, Australia
Prashansha K C, Nepal
Ariane Colson, France