Meaza Ashenafi, born in 1965 in Ethiopia, is an accomplished Ethiopian public personality, well known nationally and internationally for her contributions in the field of law, especially regarding legal protection of women; in the promotion of human rights; advocacy on violence against women; in institution and partnership building; in financial mediation in favor of women; and in resource mobilization for various aspects of development. Her formal education includes degrees in law, international relations and gender studies from reputable institutions such as Addis Ababa University (Ethiopia) and the University of Connecticut (USA).
She is recently appointed as the first female Chief Justice of the Federal Supreme Court of Ethiopia. She was a high court judge between 1989 and 1992. In 1993 she served as a legal advisor in the Ethiopian Constitutional Drafting Commission. The Constitution gives women a broad range of political, social, legal and economic rights. Then in 1995, she founded the Ethiopian Women Lawyers Association (EWLA) and was its Executive Directress for eight years. As the Directress of EWLA she was dedicated to vocalizing the needs of misfortunate women under the social and economic structures. She contributed for the revision of the Federal Family Law, Criminal Law which once have had provisions against women’s rights. Even after she left she continued using her extensive legal background to lobby for the promotion and respect of women’s right. With the cause close to her heart, she co-founded Enat Bank, the first women’s Bank which targets at economic empowerment of women, while providing all clients with exemplary services. She chaired the Bank’s Board of Directors for four years besides her Gender Advisor role at the UN Economic Commission for Africa.