"But as I prepared for my first trip to Saudi Arabia, I was bristling at the thought of having to wear an abaya - the all-enveloping black cloak that turns the women of the Gulf into mournful ghosts.
Perhaps that is why I called the hotel before I arrived, to ask a question I already knew the answer to - will I be able to use the swimming pool?
The response was a small silence, and then an embarrassed laugh. "Er, No madam. The pool is, of course, for men only. I am so sorry."
The women of Saudi Arabia are not just folded away behind swathes of hot black cloth, they live segregated lives, ushered out of the all-male public spaces into so called "family" areas, escorted everywhere by husbands or male relatives, and expected to ask for male permission to travel."
Read the full story at BBC News