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 25.5% of all national parliamentarians were female as of April 1, 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 1013 awards, $1,207,250 to 851 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 $1,500 and 10 international recipients are selected from the district/region recipients to receive awards of $5,000 each.


Women, aged 16-19 on April 1 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 a due date to be announced for 2023. A club recipient is selected, and the application is presented to the governor/regional representative. The district/region recipient is selected, and the application is presented to Zonta International Headquarters by May 2023. The 2023 recipients will be announced by July  2023


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

2022 Young Women in Public Affairs Award winners announced

On May 23, 2022 the Zonta Club of Santa Clarita awarded three young women with the 2022 Young Women in Public Affairs awards.

Emily Doi is our YWPA award winner for 2022 and her application will be forward to District 9 for further consideration. She could not attend the awards event as she is studying abroad in Bavaria, Germany. She is an amazing young woman who is a senior at Learning Post Academy. She has received an appointment to West Point and will pursue a military career with a concentration in International Relations and National Security Studies. Wow! After that, she envisions transferring to the Department of State.

Emily serves as Executive Board Secretary and has been Head Fine Arts Commissioner since 2019. In addition, she was the Drum Major leader of the band in 2021, Chamber Orchestra Section Leader (Principal Cellist) from 2019-2021 promoting harmony and camaraderie among all members.

We are not sure how, but she found time to be:

  • Girl Scouts Gold Award winner by transforming a storage area into a teen center for Youth Ministry, doubling attendance.
  • Ikigai Legacy Oral History Grant Writer, Interviewer, and  Project Lead (honored the multi-generational history of her Japanese-American church by doing oral interviews)
  • Dear Asian Youth SCV Treasurer (encouraged Asian youth in SCV to be socially conscious and politically aware)
  • Santa Clarita Valley Trail Users (Trail Ambassador). who volunteered to build, maintain, and revitalize local trails.

This year Emily was the recipient of the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange Scholarship in which the Department of State selected her to spend a year in Germany as a citizen-diplomat.

She also worked as a counsel for Tech Trek in Santa Clarita Valley, run by American Association for University Women, to cultivate young girls' interest in the STEM fields and to meet inspiring female role models.

Emily Doi is truly an inspiring female role model!

Additionally two other young women were recognized with an award

Regina Lee hopes to become a lawyer to defend and protect those in need. She started her own charity in Santa Clarita called “Smile, SCV!” Their purpose is to supply jackets, school supplies, food and other supplies as needed.

In addition, she volunteers for Santa Clarita Grocery, a food pantry, helping to donate food to families in need.

She has been the treasurer of Saugus High School ASB for all 3 years that she has been there. She is also treasurer of the Model United Nations (MUN) Club. Regina is the president of the Santa Clarita Valley YMCA Youth Delegation of the YMCA Youth and Government Program.

As you can see, her community service and involvement as a leader in her school and community are very important reasons why she has been selected to receive this award.

Kayla Gonzalez is currently a sophomore. Last year, she helped to form the Golden Valley Z Club (the high school version of a Zonta Club) and this year she served as its Vice President. She will move up to President next.

Though Kayla is busy studying at Golden Valley, she makes time to volunteer. For example, this year, Kayla has done fundraising for Afghan women refugees in Santa Clarita, as well as donating some of the money that was raised to Single Mothers Outreach, Bridge to Home, and local foster youth programs. She is very aware of the needs of women in El Salvador and helps them with donations too.

Kayla wants to become an immigration lawyer particularly to serve the needs of women. Her goals are well-aligned with the goals of Zonta International.

Congratulations to all of our winners.  They our are future!