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Young Women in Public Affairs Award

The goal of the Zonta International Young Women in Public Affairs (YWPA) Award Program is to honor young women of age 16 to 19 who demonstrate a commitment to leadership in public policy, government, and volunteer organizations.

The competition begins at the local level with each Zonta Club eligible to nominate one candidate for the District award by submitting the application to the District Governor by April 1st. In District 4, the District winner receives $1,500 US, and the opportunity to compete for one of ten Zonta International awards of $4,000 US. Young women interested in this award programme should contact their local Zonta Club for instructions on how to apply.

The form may be downloaded and printed from the Zonta International web site: www.Zonta.org

Contact your nearest Zonta Club or the Awards Office of your college or university for more information.

Meet Our 2017 District 4 YWPA Winner
Eva Wanyu Ren

Eva Ren’s interests lie in international humanitarian law, non-profit work, politics, and public affairs. She hopes to attend the University of McGill in Montreal to study management with a minor in international relations. She wishes to positively impact others through resolving conflicts and hopes to continue to volunteer with organizations that promote gender equality and help immigrants integrate.

After attending the District School Board of Niagara’s Speak Up Forum, Eva insisted that all voices should be heard by the government equally and the superintendent allowed her to work with staff to create another Speak Up Forum that was culturally sensitive to international students.

She volunteers as Chief Operations Officer of the Federation of Canadian Secondary Students, one of Canada’s largest non-partisan and youth-led alliances. This year, she co-lead the drafting and releasing of an official Student Bill of Rights, which will contain the rights that every Canadian student can expect in the classroom. This also sparked her interest in government and public affairs. Thus, I applied to the Member of Parliament and was admitted as a Youth Councillor on the St. Catharines Federal Youth Council. The council provides a student perspective on various federal issues and offers the M.P. solutions on how to engage youth of all backgrounds to be involved in politics and in volunteerism.

In the summer of 2016 Eva was a member of the Junior Team Canada International Trade Mission to China, which is affiliated with the Department of Global Affairs, the Canada-China Business Council and the Canadian Consulate in China. She represented the education and tourism sector of Niagara and travelled to four Chinese cities, meeting with Chinese industry, government and trade commissioners. She gained hands-on experience in international trade, governance, and diplomacy while fostering a global mindset by learning the customs of another country.

Additionally, Eva helps out with the Equity Club’s initiatives at her school to promote greater tolerance and acceptance, especially gender equality. She realizes many factors hinder women’s empowerment. Pay inequality still remains prevalent in numerous parts of the world, and the pay gap is even larger for women who are minorities, Aboriginal, newcomers, or women living with disabilities. She believes there are solutions our society can implement in order to alleviate inequality issues. Firstly, employment training should emphasize the numerous benefits of gender equality. Authorities must also ensure both the board of directors and the senior leadership understand legal issues associated with gender discrimination. Lastly, organizations that fight inequality, like Zonta International, are opportunities to get involved and fund programs that promote women’s empowerment.


Winners of the Young Women in Public Affairs Award and sponsoring Zonta Club

2017 Eva Wanyu Ren, Zonta Club of St. Catharines, ON (also an  International winner)
2016 Karen Hakim, Zonta Club of Kitchener-Waterloo
2015 Alexandria Iwanenko, Zonta Club of Hamburg-Orchard Park, NY
2014 Christina Weber, Zonta Club of St. Catharines, ON
2013 Soumitri Barua, Zonta Club of Olean, NY (also an International winner)
2012 Wendy Liao, Zonta Club of Toronto, ON (also an  International winner)
2011 Hannah Nicholls-Harrison, Zonta Club of Owen Sound, ON
2010 Bethany Saul, Zonta Club of Hamburg-Orchard-Park, NY (also an International winner)
2009 Jillian Meyers, Zonta Clubs of Hamilton 1 and 2, ON
2008 Katrin Sawatzky, Zonta Club of Kitchener-Waterloo, ON
2007 Kathleen Simon, Zonta Club of Olean, NY
2006 Lyndsay Crump, Zonta Club of St. Catharines, ON  (also an International winner)
2005 Gillian S Hawley, Zonta Club of Batavia, NY
2004 Sara Mojtehedzadeh, Zonta Club of Guelph, ON
2003 Jennifer Hustwit, Zonta Club of Kitchener-Waterloo, ON
2002 Katherine Hui, Zonta Clubs of Hamilton 1 and 2, ON (also an International winner)
2001 Jennifer Sloane, Zonta Club of Kitchener-Waterloo,ON
2000 Phoebe Smith, Zonta Club of St. Catharines, ON
1999 Teresa Chan, Zonta Club of Niagara Falls, ON
1998 Beata Moninca Gomulak, Zonta Club of Erie, PA
1997 Praseedha Janakarim, Zonta Club of Guelph, ON
1996 Emily Suzanne Hanlin, Zonta Club of Jamestown, NY
1995 Laura Zilney, Zonta Club of Kitchener-Waterloo, ON
1994 Jill Carter, Zonta Club of Kitchener-Waterloo, ON
1993 Judith Syme Parker, Zonta Club of Niagara Falls, ON (also an International winner)
1992 Laurie Anne Halfpenny, Zonta Club of Guelph, ON

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