Women of Distinction Awards

The YWCA USA Women of Distinction Award honors women from across the United States who have demonstrated excellence, leadership and integrity in their fields and in the community, serving as role models for other successful women. Nominations from YWCAs across the United States were submitted to identify leaders whose work has truly made an impact on women’s economic empowerment and racial justice.

The YWCA USA Women of Distinction Awards include honorees for contributions in four key areas of public life: 1) Civic Engagement 2) Business 3) Philanthropy and 4) Military/Veterans Affairs.

View a Flickr slideshow that includes images from the event below.



Master of Ceremonies
Maureen Bunyan, ABC7/WJLA-TV Anchor
Maureen Bunyan is a veteran television news broadcaster and a primary anchor for ABC7/WJLA-TV who has an extensive record of service to the community. Read bio.


Elouise P. Cobell (deceased)
Elouise Cobell established the Blackfeet National Bank, the first national bank located on an Indian reservation and owned by a Native American Nation. Cobell died at the age of 65 on October 16, 2011, in Great Falls, Montana. Read bio.

Civic Engagement
Gabrielle Giffords
Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives from Arizona, Gabrielle Giffords is the third woman in Arizona’s history to be elected to the U.S. Congress. A victim of a shooting near Tucson, Giffords announced her resignation in January 2012, but promised to return to public service in the future. Read bio.

Military/Veterans Affairs
Lt. Col. Tammy Duckworth
Illinois Army National Guard Lieutenant Colonel Tammy Duckworth was copiloting a Blackhawk helicopter in Iraq in 2004 when insurgents hit the chopper with a rocket-propelled grenade. Duckworth sustained injuries, was awarded the Purple Heart and became an advocate for her fellow soldiers. In March of 2012, Duckworth secured the Democratic nomination for a seat for the 8th U.S. Congressional District in Illinois. 
Read bio. 

Francie Pepper
Francie Pepper has spent a lifetime helping others. She is a tireless advocate and philanthropist for women, girls, and racial justice. Her volunteer work and leadership is legendary, and her work in support of domestic violence awareness programs has received national recognition. Pepper is a major supporter of the Sophia Smith Collection at Smith College, an internationally recognized repository of manuscripts, archives, photographs, periodicals and other primary sources in women’s history, including all of the YWCA historical files. Read bio.