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.


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!

Watch here for information about 2022 scholarships

Help Women and Girls Today

2021 Young Women in Public Affairs Winners

Zonta Club of Santa Clarita Valley is proud to present Young Women in Public Affairs Awards  to four outstanding young women  – Emily Chang,  Sayeda  Kulsoom Hasan, Terra Lee and Tayla Ramirez.    A total of $2,700 was distributed to these exceptional students to assist in achieving their goals.

Emily Chang

Emily Chang, a senior at West Ranch High School, has started her own non-profit 501 (c) (3) jewelry business -Stella and Luna; all profits are donated to a  local single mothers shelter plus a host of other volunteer activities.   In addition, Emily is proactive in campus activities – to name a few:   Co-founder of West Ranch Going Green, Stock Market Club President, and Co-President of Future Business Leaders of America.  She is involved in a multitude of community and  volunteer activities which include assisting 4th-6th graders with public speaking skills and marketing for  Single Mothers Outreach,  plus free homework tutoring at Newhall Library.  She was selected as a Paid Intern for the Bank of America Student Leaders Program where she spearheaded a new marketing initiative for the Boys and Girls Club.  She has been accepted to attend Vanderbilt University.  These achievements and activities have lead to her application being forwarded to Zonta District 9 for consideration of a $1,500 award and a Zonta International (ZI) award of $5,000 for a potential award amount of $6,500.



Sayeda Kulsoom Hasan

Sayeda Kulsoom Hasan, a sophomore at College of the Canyons, a political science major, aspires to represent women in government and leadership.  She would like to pursue law in domestic and/or international civil rights.  She is Vice President of the school’s Political Science Club and is Director of Academic Affairs in student government and is Secretary of the Executive Board of the National Society of Leadership and Success.  Having served as Vice President of the Model United Nations team (nationally ranked), she represented her school in competitive public speaking conferences, she has learned the importance of empathy and understanding when discussing sensitive international issues.    She was engaged with Engage the Election to increase voter turnout and other community volunteer activities.




Terra Lee

Terra Lee, a junior at Valencia High School, whose goal is to specialize in medicine and work with autistic children is Vice President of the four-year Career and Technical Education (CTE) program of the Medical Science Academy.  She is a Yellow Ribbon ambassador training other high school and Middle school students in suicide prevention.  A research assistant at California State University of Northridge CADV Orange Lab, she contributes to literature reviews and qualitative brain coding and is a research intern at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine Hinman Lab conducting research on genes in a type of neuroglia.  As a Level Two volunteer at Luv Michael, a nonprofit that provides jobs for adults with autism spectrum. She volunteers in the hospital at Keck Medicine of USC and founded Women Medical Empowerment for those who support women’s rights and wish to pursue a medical career.




Tayla Ramirez

Tayla Ramirez is a sophomore at Golden Valley High School.  Her goal is to become a lawyer and help others.  She is president of the recently formed Z-Club comprised of young women and men students at the school; members aspire to further the Zonta mission to empower women locally and worldwide.  At the age of seven, Tayla began volunteering at foster youth events and has continued to this day.  She assisted a small designer prepare for a show and volunteers at dog shelters.  She is a member of Model UN which brings students together to discuss world issues such as trafficking and hunger; steps are taken to create a plan to help alleviate these problems.  She recognizes the challenges facing her in her future quest to become a lawyer, as less than two percent of Latina women are lawyers.



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