The progress of women in the last century has dramatically increased the opportunities available to women, yet women's participation in positions of public influence continues to lag behind. Although women account for nearly 50 percent of the workforce, they hold on average just 20.3 percent of seats in the world's national parliaments as of 31 December 2012, according to the Inter-Parliamentary Union. Zonta International believes young women are the key to women's advancement in the field of public service. The Young Women in Public Affairs (YWPA) Awards program recognizes young women for their demonstrated leadership skills and commitment to public service and civic causes and encourages them to continue their participation in public and political life.
Since the program's inception, Zonta has given 679 awards (includes international awards) totaling US$548,750 to 597 young women from 51 countries.
Established in 1990 by Past International President Leneen Forde, the Young Women in Public Affairs Award honors young women of age 16 to 19, who demonstrate a commitment to leadership in public policy, government and volunteer organizations. 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$1,000, and ten international recipients are selected from the district/region recipients to receive awards of US$4,000 each.
Women of any nationality who are students of age 16-19 on 1 April each year, studying and living, or working in a Zonta district/region and who demonstrate evidence of the following are eligible to apply. Note that applicants from geographic areas where no clubs are located will be considered and also eligible for the District/Region Award.
- Active commitment to volunteerism
- Experience in local or student government
- Volunteer leadership achievements
- Knowledge of Zonta International and its programs
- Advocating in Zonta International's mission of advancing the status of women worldwide
The application must start with a Zonta club. All application materials must be received at a Zonta club by the printed deadline. Zonta clubs select one application to send to the district 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 Award Committee recommends ten 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. >>Locate a Zonta Club Near You
Applications for the 2014 Young Women in Public Affairs Award must be received by the assigned deadline that is declared by the applicant's local Zonta club. The 2014 recipients will be chosen by 1 July 2014.
Young Women in Public Affairs Awards are made possible through generous contributions from Zontians, Zonta Clubs and friends of Zonta.