Pew Research Report: How people in Muslim countries prefer women to dress in public
The issue of how muslim women should dress in public has always been a point of contention. Recently, in a bid to explore exactly what constitutes preferred public attire, the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research conducted a study, asking participants from seven Muslim-majority countries to pick from a series of headdress options. The images ranged from the fully-hooded burqa to no head covering whatsoever:
The median preference from the group as a whole was image 4 – a white hijab which completely covered the wearer’s hair and ears. The opinions of individual countries, however, were far more telling.
Saudi Arabia was revealed as largely conservative, with 63% choosing the niqab (which covers the entire head apart from the eyes) while Lebanon was the most liberal – 49% of participants there considered no head covering at all to be appropriate.
Despite the clear majority of participants reporting a preference for the modest option of image 4, around 50% in Turkey, Tunisia, Lebanon and (most surprisingly) Saudi Arabia agreed that a woman should be free to choose her own clothing. Only 14% of Egyptians agreed women should be granted that freedom.