These Awards recognize pre-university and pre-college women students committed to leadership in public policy, government and volunteer organizations. See the Awards Application for further information regarding eligibility, application requirements, contact information, and application process.

YWPI Award

Though about 40 percent of the world’s workforce is women, according to data from the Inter-Parliamentary Union, only 22.7 percent of all national parliamentarians were female as of 1 June 2016. 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 804 awards (includes international awards), totaling US$764,750, to 692 young women representing 54 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$1,000, and 10 international recipients are selected from the district/region recipients to receive awards of US$4,000 each.

YWPI Eligibility

Women, ages 16-19 on 1 April each year, living in a Zonta district/region, or a citizen 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 will be considered and eligible to apply for the district/region Award. Z and Golden Z club members are also eligible to apply. Classified members and employees of Zonta International and Zonta International Foundation, and their family members, are not eligible to apply for the Awards.

YWPI Application process

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 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 2017 Young Women in Public Affairs Award must be received by the assigned deadline that is declared by the applicant's local Zonta club. The 2017 recipients will be chosen by 1 July 2017.


2016 YWIPA Winners


Three young women were honored by Zonta Club of the Santa Clarita Valley, which awarded nearly $21,000 in scholarships and community grants at its recent annual awards evening. The top Young Women in Public Affairs winner received a $1,000 local prize, and her application has been forwarded to District 9, where she will be eligible for another $1,000 and possible advancement to Zonta International competition.

Christian Spates receives the top award

Christian Spates, a senior at West Ranch High School this year, is the top winner. She is active in her school's Associated Student Body (student government) and excels in the areas of fine and performing arts.

Christian is in the process of a personal goal to raise $10,000 for donate to the National Coalition against domestic violence. She is a survivor of domestic violence who hopes to help others find their voice and be inspired to stand up for themselves. She plans to major in both music and business in college, with emphasis on entrepreneurship. She wants to open her own line of talent agencies in inner cities and wants to develop a non-profit organization geared toward rebuilding the lives of domestic violence survivors.

Christian's application has been forwarded to District 9, where she is eligible to win another $1,000. The District 9 winner goes on to Zonta International, which will award ten $4,000 scholarships.

Isabelle is an executive officer for her school's student government and plans to study Humanities and Social Sciences in college. She has been in charge of various philanthropic events at Golden Valley, including Breast Cancer Awareness Month activities and efforts to create a safer and more inclusive campus with awareness of current issues facing the LGBT+ community.

She manages two student council teams at her school and represents Golden Valley on the Hart District Advisory Committee. She studies world cultures to become more aware of global issues.

Zonta's runner-up Young Women in Public Affairs recipients are Noelle Min, a senior at Academy of the Canyons (the Hart District's middle college high school), and Isabelle Guerrero, who will graduate from Golden Valley High School this spring.

Noelle's dream is to work as a doctor through an organization like Doctors Without Borders, to help third world countries develop healthcare systems that advance their existing natural medicine. She plans to study public health in college. At AOC, she has served on the school's Associated Student Body for the past two years and has organized a number of donation drives and service projects. She started the first school garden, and the organic vegetables were donated to a homeless family at harvest time.

Since ninth grade, Noelle has been a member of Santa Clarita's Youth Advisory Committee (YAC), advising city officers and commissioners on youth concerns and interests. Last year, Noelle proposed a project to the YAC that has created relationships between youth and local seniors, while simultaneously preserving their stories through interviews and a future senior gallery. She also has been an active member of the Human Rights Watch's Student Task Force, a club focused on educating students on current human rights issues around the world.