British Prime Minister Theresa May chose not to cover her head during her visit to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday. While some have criticised the British PM for being disrespectful, May’s stand is being lauded by vocal critics of the kingdom’s dress code for women which ordains them to wear headscarves and loose black robes in public. Foreigners, however, are exempted from this and it is not required for them to cover their heads.
May isn’t the first woman leader to forgo the headscarf on their visit to the country. Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former first lady Michelle Obama also chose not to wear headscarves during their visit to Saudi Arabia.
With British exports of goods and services to Saudi topping 6.5 billion pounds ($8.1 billion) in 2015, the kingdom is Britain’s largest Mideast trading partner, reports The Associated Press. PM May’s visit to Saudi was aimed at strengthening the bilateral ties and increasing trade with the largest Arab economy which is among one of the top buyers of UK defense equipment along with being world’s largest defense spenders.The meeting also comes in the backdrop of Saudi’s war with Yemen which has been criticised by several rights group for human rights violations. Critics have also denounced UK, US and France for sale of weapons to the kingdom(THE INDIAN EXPRESS,2017).