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.

YWPA 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.

YWPA 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.

YWPA 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.


Application period is now closed.

2018 YWPA Winners

Lt to Rt: Mary Ann Dortch, Jennifer Elliot,  Alexandria Gillespie, Naibe Aguilar, Gloria Mercado-Fortine
Lt to Rt: Mary Ann Dortch, Jennifer Elliot, Alexandria Gillespie, Naibe Aguilar, Gloria Mercado-Fortine

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.

Naibe Aguilar of Newhall, a senior at Hart High School, plans to pursue a career in Business and Dentistry. She will become a Registered Dental Assistant this summer. Naibe is passionate about helping her community and her church. At Hart High she has been busy working all four years in the Associated Student Body in various leadership roles, such as Senior Class Fundraising Commissioner, Hispanic Heritage Week Head Commissioner and President of the Chicano Latino Youth Leadership Club. She is a member of NSF, Key Club, FIDM Club and Bible Club. She works Mondays through Thursdays after school from 2:00 to 5:30 p.m. in the Dental Assisting Program through Hart High School. She has also become a State Farm Intern through the City of Santa Clarita Youth Employment Services. She volunteers often at her church (OLPH) and made Blessing Boxes for the homeless in our community.


Jennifer Elliott is an 11thgrade student at Valencia High School where she is very involved in ASB, representing her fellow students for two years as both her Sophomore and Junior Class Presidents. She has organized five Blood Drives to help others. She is active in the Girl Scouts and has achieved the Bronze and Silver Awards. Jennifer belongs to the UNICEF Club and Girls Up Club at Valencia High School. She also volunteers as a swim team coach and as a teacher at her church’s Vacation Bible School. Her future goals are political science and law.


Alexandria Gillespie is a 12thgrader at Hart High School, where she takes on more than one leadership role. She has served as the Executive Board Secretary for ASB. She works on the Hart TV broadcasts, and is a member of Hart Swim Team. She is also in the top 5% of her class academically, taking AP and Honors coursework. She attended the California Girls State Conference. Alexandria volunteers with SafeRides and “A Night to Remember”. She will pursue a Business degree and combine her love of writing with being an entrepreneur.


We are very proud of all of our recipients and congratulate each of them on their hard work and kind deeds.