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The Childhood, Law & Policy Network (CLPN)

Els Leye


Independent Consultant (Dr.), Belgium



Internationally networked researcher and consultant that offers advise, research and training on the topics of gender-based violence, gender equality, female genital mutilation/cutting and child/forced marriage.Pioneering researcher and reference person on the topic of female genital mutilation in Europe. Holds a PhD in Comparative Sciences of Culture, and was previously attached to the Ghent University (International Centre for Reproductive Health) and the Vrije Universiteit Brussels (RHEA Research Centre Gender, Diversity and Intersectionality), among others.



Academic journals Web of Science (2019-2022)

  • Kemigisha E, Ivanova O, Ruzaaza GN, Ninsiima AB, Kaziga R, Bruce K, Leye E, Coene G, Nyakato VN, Michielsen K. Process evaluation of a comprehensive sexuality education intervention in primary schools in South Western Uganda. SEXUAL AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTHCARE 2019. 21 p.51-59. DOI: 10.1016/j.srhc.2019.06.006
  • Cappa C, Van Baelen L, Leye E. 2019. The practice of female genital mutilation across the world: Data availability and approaches to measurement. GLOBAL PUBLIC HEALTH. 14(8) p. 1139-1152. DOI: 10.1080/17441692.2019.1571091
  • Leye E. 2019. Multidisciplinary care for women affected by female genital mutilation/cutting Findings from Belgium. In : Body, Migration, Re/Constructive Sugeries : Making the Gendered Body in a Globalized World. Griffin G, Jordal M (eds.). Routledge Research in Gender and Society, p 63-77.
  • Van Eekert N, Leye E, Van de Velde S. 2019. The Association Between Women's Social Position and the Medicalization of Female Genital Cutting in Egypt. INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVES ON SEXUAL AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH. 44(3). p. 101-109. DOI: 10.1363/44e6618
  • Kemigisha E, Bruce K, Nyakato VN, Ruzaaza GN, Ninsiima AB, Mlahagwa W, Leye E, Coene G, Michielsen K. 2019. Sexual health of very young adolescents in South Western Uganda: a cross-sectional assessment of sexual knowledge and behavior. REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH. 15(148). DOI: 10.1186/s12978-018- 0595-3
  • Leye E, Van Eekert N, Shamu S, Esho T, Barrett H, ANSER. Debating medicalization of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C): learning from (policy) experiences across countries. REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH, (2019) 16: 158. 
  • Ninsiima AB, Michielsen K, Kemigisha E, Nyakoto VN, Leye E, Coene G. Poverty, Gender and Reproductive Justice. A Qualitative Study among Adolescent Girls in Western Uganda. CULTURE, HEALTH AND SEXUALITY, DOI:10.1080/1369105058.2019.16604062019, February 2020.
  • Barrett HR, Brown K, Alhassan Y, Leye E. Transforming social norms to end FGM in the EU: an evaluation of the REPLACE Approach. Reproductive health. 2020 Dec;17(1):1-6.
  • Leye E. To medicalize or not to medicalize, is that the question? Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada, February 2020 Volume 42, Issue 2, Pages e25–e26, doi
  • Kawous R, Van Den Muijsenbergh ME, Geraci D, Van Der Kwaak A, Leye E, Middelburg A, Ortensi LE, Burdorf A. The prevalence and risk of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting among migrant women and girls in the Netherlands: An extrapolation method. Plos one. 2020 Apr 9;15(4):e0230919.
  • De Schrijver L, Van Baelen L, Van Eekert N, Leye E. Towards a better estimation of prevalence of female genital mutilation in the European Union: a situation analysis. Reprod Health. 2020;17(1):105. Published 2020 Jul 8. doi:10.1186/s12978-020-00947-2
  • Nina Van Eekert, Sarah Van de Velde, Sibyl Anthierens, Naomi Biegel, Martha Kieiri, Tammary Esho & Els Leye (2021) Mothers' perceptions of the medicalisation of female genital cutting among the Kisii population in Kenya, Culture, Health & Sexuality,DOI: 10.1080/13691058.2021.1906952
  • Leye E, D’Souza H, Meurens N. 2021. The Added Value of and Resistance to the Istanbul Convention: A Comparative Study in 27 European Member States and Turkey. Frontiers in Human Dynamics. 3:697331. Doi: 10,3389/fhumd.2021.69733 



  • Leye E. Female genital mutilation. A study of health services and legislation in some countries of the European Union. Doctoral thesis submitted to fulfill the requirements for the degree of Doctor in Comparative Sciences of Culture. Ghent University, ICRH Monographies, February 2008.
  • Leye E, Temmerman M. (eds.). Vrouwen onder druk. Schendingen van de seksuele gezondheid bij kwetsbare vrouwen. (Women under Pressure. Violations of sexual health of vulnerable women). Leuven: Lannoo Campus, 2010.
  • Leye E, Sabbe A. Forced marriage in Belgium: an analysis of the current situation. Gent: ICRH Global vzw, 2015.
  • Leye E, Coene G. (eds.). Researching Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting. Proceedings of the 2nd International Academic Seminar of MAP-FGM Project. Brussels: VUB Press, 2017.



Delivers research, writing and analysis for a wide range of clients, synthesizing information into usable insights, publications and policy recommendations.
Identifies and acquires viable projects and oversees all project components, including monitoring and evaluation.
Develops guidelines, manuals, action plans and protocols on female genital mutilation, child/forced marriage and violence against women for policy makers and other stakeholders
Advises on policy documents, research protocols, scientific publications and project outlines.
Delivers sensitization and training for (post) graduates, lay people and policy makers in harmful practices and gender-based violence
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