Senator Ben Allen Honors Maryam Zar as 2023 Woman of the Year

SACRAMENTO – In a floor ceremony in the California State Senate today, Senator Ben Allen (D – Santa Monica) recognized Maryam Zar as the Senate District 24 Woman of the Year. The Iranian-born Zar is a strong advocate for human rights as well as empowerment both at home and around the world. She has been proactive in speaking in support of the women’s movement taking place in Iran. Currently, she is president of the Pacific Palisades Community Council, chair of the Westside Regional Alliance of Councils Land Use and Planning Committee, secretary of her local Park Advisory Board, and chair of the board of her community YMCA.

“This past year, the courageous women of Iran have taken to the streets fighting for their rights. Here in the United States, Persian-American women have led the fight to make sure their struggle is not ignored,” said Senator Allen, who represents some of the most populous Persian communities in California. “Maryam has been a leader in this effort. Her leadership builds upon years of community service in the Palisades and broader LA region. She has been putting in the hard work of finding local solutions for homelessness, leading the Community Council with strength and energy. I’m proud to name her SD 24 Woman of the Year for 2023!”

Ms. Zar moved to the United States in 1979 and earned her bachelor’s degree from Boston College and juris doctorate from Pepperdine University. In 1992, she returned to Iran as a news correspondent in the face of a patriarchy that did not welcome women in the workplace. In 2010, she established Womenfound to promote awareness of the plight of women around the world.

“I’m thrilled to be receiving this accolade from Senator Ben Allen, who is a pleasure to work with and represents the kind of public servant all districts should be lucky enough to have. This year, with the Woman Life Freedom movement for civil rights inspired by women in Iran underway, the WOTY award is particularly meaningful to me and I’m grateful and humbled to have been chosen,” Zar added.

Each year, each California legislator chooses a woman in their district to honor in collaboration with the Legislative Women’s Caucus. Senator Allen’s past honorees include Debbie Allen, Corrie Mattie, Lisa Zola Greer, Catherine Baxter, Rashida Leah Jones, Stacey Armato, Amy Ziering, and Jackie Caster.

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Ben Allen represents the 24th State Senate District, which consists of the Westside, Hollywood, coastal South Bay, and Santa Monica Mountains communities of Los Angeles County.