Young Women in Public Affairs Award

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.

Applications for 2021 have been closed


Though about 40% of the world’s workforce is women, according to data from the Inter-Parliamentary Union, only 25.1% of all national parliamentarians were female as of 1 October 2020. 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 971 awards, US$1,109,250, to 819 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.

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.


Applications must be completed and returned to the Zonta Club of Santa Clarita Valley by March 5, 2021.  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. The 2021 recipients will be announced by 1 July 2021.


YWPA district/region and international Awards are made possible by generous contributions to the Zonta International Foundation Young Women in Public Affairs Award Fund.  Our local YWPA awards are made possible by generous contributions to the Zonta Club of Santa Clarita Valley Foundation.  You can make a difference in the lives of young women by donating today!

Help Women and Girls Today

Zonta Club of Santa Clarita Valley announces the Young Women in Public Affairs 2021 application period is now closed.

2020 Young Women in Public Affairs Winners

Crystal Salinas
Crystal Salinas
Joelle Min
Joelle Min
Brooke Friedman
Brooke Friedman

This year’s applicants for the YWIPA scholarships were outstanding! Our top three applicants were awarded scholarships to continue their efforts to improve the lives of women by pursuing educational goals towards careers in public affairs.

The scholarships are distributed to first, second and third place winners, who attend local high schools or college, and are 16 – 19 years of age. The competition, which also has District 9 and Zonta International award levels, provides a potential award amount of up to an additional $5,500.  This award is designed to encourage young women to take an interest in public affairs and perhaps pursue a career in a related field.

This year's recipients are Crystal Salinas from Hart High School who goal is to become a Global Health Physician to improve health worldwide;

Joelle Min who attends Academy of the Canyons and has future goals to become a lawyer and leader in human rights law, and to become a US diplomat to advocate for improvement in the status of women; and

Brooke Friedman from Valencia High whose goal is to become an orthodontist and continue to volunteer for her church, Girl Scouts, and the Red Cross.

Congratulations to this year's YWPA Scholarship awardees!   We are very proud of you.