Though about 40% of the world’s workforce is women, according to data from the Inter-Parliamentary Union, only 25.7% of all national parliamentarians were female as of 1 September 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 1,054 awards, US$1,303,750, to 882 young women from 60 countries.
The program operates at the Zonta club, district/region and international levels. Zonta International offers 37 international awards of US$5,000. Each district/region may submit one applicant for consideration for an international scholarship. The five largest districts may submit a second applicant for a total of two applicants.
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 international awards. Previous district and international Young Women in Public Affairs Award recipients are not eligible to apply to renew the Award for a second year.
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.
Z and Golden Z club members are also eligible to apply.
Application Process and Deadline
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. If the Zonta club contact information is not printed on the application, please locate the Zonta club nearest you by using the Club Locator, or email your name and contact information to Zonta International Headquarters at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All application materials must be received at the Zonta club by the deadline printed on the application. Applicants from geographic areas within a Zonta district/region where no clubs are located will be considered and are eligible to apply for the international scholarships via a Zonta district/region.
2023 YWPA Award Application | PDF
Young Women in Public Affairs Awards are made possible by generous contributions to the Zonta Foundation for Women Young Women in Public Affairs Award Fund from Zontians, Zonta clubs and friends of Zonta International.
2022 YWPA Awardees | PDF
2022 YWPA Awardees' Bios | PDF
Sruthi Kurada, USA, District 1
Khadijah Dhoondia, USA, District 6
Shae Dolan, USA, District 8
Catherine Xu, USA, District 9
Lena Kalandjian, USA, District 11
Supipa Sirikul, Thailand, District 17
Maisy Baer, Ghana, District 18
Kertu Birgit Anton, Estonia, District 20
Cat Tran, Vietnam, District 24
Sophia Zuo, USA, District 31
Emma Wade, USA, District 2
Sydnee Lynch, USA, District 3
Ava Forbes-Schnick, Canada, District 4
Katherine Drab, USA, District 5
Alexia Nastasia, USA, District 7
Gazelle Schreiner, USA, District 10
Anika Spilde, USA, District 12
Anna Olivia Nielsen, Denmark, District 13
Kiara Hoffman-Kuhnt, Germany, District 14
Tess Carichner, USA, District 15
Shuari Naidoo, New Zealand, District 16
Embla Monemar, Sweden, District 21
Mahsa Nabizada, Australia, District 22
Mia Salomon, Australia, District 23
Vaishnavi Jaiswal, India, District 25
Rya Kato, Japan, District 26
Naz Erdogan, Luxembourg/Turkey, District 27
Helma Pöppel, Switzerland/Germany, District 28
Ramah Milli, Germany, District 29
Bianca D'Aversa, Italy, District 30
Jiseon Lee, South Korea, District 32
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