Ms. Els Leye

Assistant Professor

Els Leye is assistant professor attached to the International Centre for Reproductive Health at the Ghent University. She holds a master’s degree in Social and Cultural Welfare Studies and obtained her PhD in Comparative Sciences of Culture at the Ghent University in 2008, on the topic of female genital mutilation in Europe. She has a year-long expertise in the field of harmful cultural practices, and more specifically female genital mutilation (FGM), forced marriages and honour related violence. She is currently coordinator of the Focal Programme on Harmful Cultural Practices at the International Centre for Reproductive Health. She was co-founder and board member of the European Network for the Prevention of Harmful Traditional Practices from 2005 to 2009. She is co-founder and member of the board of the association La Palabre, which is establishing a refuge for vulnerable children and women in Senegal. She’s a member of the advisory board of the END FGM European Campaign and performed several consultancies, among others for several UN agencies and technical cooperations of Belgium and Germany. She was one of the principal investigators of the Study for the European Institute for Gender Equality, to map FGM in the EU (2012), and has many publications on her name on the topic of female genital mutilation and other harmful practices. E-mail:

Staff publications