However, my preference is to wear the male head covering in a Yemeni style and I get a great response from both men and women here when I wear it. Rather than see it as disrespectful, it is seen as a mark of respect and honouring their culture, particularly because I know how to wear it properly. Its an incredibly practical garment too.
In the summer, it can protect your head from the sun and in the winter, cashmere ones keep the head warm and they can be wrapped around the face to protect from dust storms on windy days…. and we've had quite a few of those lately!! In the desert, the keffiyeh is a basic survival tool.
I think, to be honest, Im also making a statement that Im a British person but with a profound interest and respect for the arab world, particularly my little corner of it - Qatar because I live here and have fascinating Qatari beduin friends and Yemen, of course, which holds my heart in a special way.
For me, my choice of attire works for me in the place I'm in and the way I want to live right now. I'm fully aware of the privileged position I hold which allows me that choice and while I have it, Im going to exercise it.
And there are precedents for it which date back more than 100 years with the likes of Isabelle Eberhardt - a European writer and explorer who travelled extensively through North Africa, rejected her European way of life and embraced Islam. She dressed like an arab man and went under the name Si Mahmoud Essadi.
So too, the incredible Freya Stark, 'the poet of travel', who would occasionally wear the keffiyeh, mixing easily with both arab men and the harim. Freya was a British traveller and writer in the 1920s/30s and one of the first non arab women to travel to Arabia, writing several books on the region including her extensive travels through Yemen.
I will leave you with one of my favourite Freya Start quotes:
"I do like people who have not yet made up their minds about everything, who are in fact still receiving."