The Women of Courage Award

Supporting young women who exemplify the spirit of Congresswoman Jackie Speier in making the world a better place.

Congresswoman Jackie Speier in 1977 and today

The Women of Courage award is inspired by the lifetime work of Congresswoman Jackie Speier who in her roles as a mother, attorney, congressional staffer and elected official has shown resilience in overcoming tragedy and life threatening situations and fortitude in taking on powerful political forces. She has become a leading champion of women’s rights, individual privacy and consumer safety. This $25,000 annual award is granted to young women who show outstanding courage in their efforts to make the world a better place.

You can read more about Jackie’s life in her book Undaunted: Surviving Jonestown, Summoning Courage, and Fighting Back.

Who is eligible for the award?

The award is open to young women (18-30 years old) who live, work or serve others in San Mateo County, and who demonstrate courage, make an impact, and exemplify the characteristics of compassion, resilience and integrity in an effort to make the world a better place.

The Selection Committee welcomes all innovative ideas of work that makes the world a better place. Examples could be, but are not limited to:

  • Innovative work in science, technology, education or the arts
  • Impactful investigative journalism
  • Leadership in civic activism
  • Advocating for environmental sustainability
  • Starting a non-profit or social enterprise
What is the award?

The award honors young women with a $25,000 award intended to further their efforts to serve others. The award may be paid directly to the awardee, to an affiliated non-profit or social venture, as a scholarship to a university or for professional development.

How can I nominate someone?

Nominees can be submitted through an open nomination process by clicking on the Nomination Form button on this page. A nomination should come from someone who knows the nominee closely and can speak to her service work.

Nominations will be reviewed and the finalists will be interviewed by a selection committee.

For more information on the nomination process, please click the “FAQ’s” button on the right.

When are nominations due?

Nominations must be submitted by midnight on December 1st, 2020 to be considered. Awardees will be announced in early 2021.


“This is an initiative I created because of my love and admiration for Jackie. We need more Jackie Speiers in the world and this award is an effort to find and support those outstanding young women who have shown the courage to take action to make the world a better place.”

The Women of Courage Award was founded by Cynthia Schuman, an accomplished artist and designer, philanthropist and community leader.