Though about 40% of the world’s workforce is women, according to data from the Inter-Parliamentary Union, only 25.5% of all national parliamentarians were female as of 1 April 2021. 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 1013 awards, US$1,207,250, to 851 young women from 58 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 Foundation for Women. District recipients receive US$1,500, and 10 international recipients are selected from the district/region recipients to receive awards of US$5,000 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.
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 Foundation for Women, 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 deadline printed on the application. If you downloaded the application from the Zonta International website, you must contact a Zonta club for deadline information. Please locate the Zonta club nearest you using the Club Locator or email 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 district/region. 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 Foundation for Women provides awards and certificates to the district/region and international recipients.
Click the button below for the 2022 YWPA Award application.
Applications must be completed and presented to Zonta clubs according to the club’s assigned deadline. A club recipient is selected, and the application is presented to the governor/regional representative by 1 April. The district/region recipient is selected, and the application is presented to Zonta International Headquarters by 1 May.