Meaza Ashenafi is the first federal female Chief Justice of Ethiopia. Under her leadership, the Federal Supreme Court has embarked on a comprehensive judicial reform program supported by both government budget as well as different international organizations. She also spearheaded the development of a common agenda for other Justice Sector Institutions which will be implemented in coordination with her new appointment as Chief Justice, where she envisions to restore public trust on the judiciary and ensure judicial independence.
Before her appointment as Chief Justice, Meaza was engaged in the promotion of human rights, advocacy on violence against women and ensuring women’s access to finance as well as in resource mobilization for various aspects of development. Meaza is the co-founder of the Ethiopian Women Lawyers Association (EWLA) where she served as the Executive Directress for eight years and vocalized the needs of women marginalized in the economic and social structure. With the cause close to her heart, she co-founded Enat Bank, the first women’s bank in Ethiopia with the goal of ensuring financial independence of women while providing all clients with exemplary service. She chaired the Bank’s Board of Directors for six years. Furthermore, Meaza has contributed to the promotion of African women’s rights in her capacity as Gender Advisor at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa over several years.
Her work has received international recognition including the African Leadership Prize, Hunger Project Award and Women of Courage for Ethiopia Award by the US Government in 2008 among many others.
Meaza’s formal education includes an L.L.B from Addis Ababa University and an M.A in International Relations and Gender Studies from the University of Connecticut in the United States.