PORTLAND, Maine — Maine Supreme Court Chief Justice Leigh I. Saufley was recognized Monday by the Maine Women’s Forum for an award she received recently in Canada from the international arm of the organization.

The International Women’s Forum gave Saufley a 2010 Woman Who Makes a Difference Award in October in Montreal, according to a press release issued Monday. She was one of nine women to be honored.

The IWF was formed to advance women’s leadership across careers, cultures and continents by connecting the world’s pre-eminent women of significant and diverse achievements, according to the press release.

The award is reserved for member leaders who by way of their examples and contribution have removed barriers for women’s participation in leadership. More than 1,200 leaders from more than 40 nations attend the gala.

“Chief Justice Saufley richly deserves this award,” Jean Deighan, president of the Maine Women’s Forum, said in the press release. “She has been a trailblazer in the legal field, and in government, in Maine and nationwide, for two decades. She has been a role model for girls and women throughout the world.”

Saufley was appointed to the state’s highest court in 1997 and sworn in as chief justice on Dec. 6, 2001, according to her biography. She was appointed to the Maine District Court in 1990 and to the Maine Superior Court in 1993.

A graduate of the University of Maine and the University of Maine School of Law, she joined the Maine Attorney General’s Office in 1981, eventually serving as a deputy attorney general. She is the recipient of many distinguished awards.