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Young Women in Public Affairs Award (YWPA)

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 October 1, 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 recipients of the Young Women in Public Affairs are women, aged 16-19 who on April 1st each year are 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.

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Applications for 2024 are now being accepted.


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-habitating 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 form can be found here. Applications must be hard copy and mailed via USPS. 

They should be sent to:


Zonta Club of the Joliet Area,

c/o JoAnn Potenziani

612 Western Ave.

Joliet, IL 60435-7040


The application window for 2024 is now open; applications will be accepted through February 15, 2024Read about our Club's 2023 recipients. 

YWPA Awards are made possible by generous contributions to the Zonta International Foundation Young Women in Public Affairs Award Fund.



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