Ahead of her visit to Saudi Arabia this afternoon, Theresa May has said she hopes to send a message about women in leadership and act as an example for the role of women in a society where women are still banned from driving, must limit their interactions with men to whom they're not related and must obtain permission from a male guardian to travel.
According to the Guardian, the prime minister – who is currently on her second part of her Gulf tour to boost post-Brexit trade ties with the Saudi government – revealed she wanted to be seen as a female leader of a powerful government.
'I hope that people see me as a woman leader, [and] will see what women can achieve and how women can be in significant positions,' she told journalists on her plane to Amman, Jordan yesterday.
'I've talked to the Saudis on a number of occasions now and I raise issues of this sort. I think we have already seen some changes,' she added.
During her visit to Saudi Arabia, the Prime Minister will reportedly meet with the vice-president of women's affairs at the country's sporting authority, Princess Reema, who is the first Saudi woman to hold a government position.
I hope that people see me as a woman leader, [and] will see what women can achieve and how women can be in significant positions.
May explained she plans to talk to her about 'the role that she plays, and generally we do encourage people to look at a woman's role in society'.
However, the politician – who came under fire from the Daily Mail's sexist 'Legs-it' headline last week following a meeting with Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon – highlighted how her intention during her visit is not to over emphasise her role as a female leader.
'It's important for me as a woman leader and as leader of the government of the United Kingdom to maintain the relationships that are important to us as a country, for our security, and our trade for the future,' she said.
May's comments come after Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn recently criticised her visit to the country, as a result of its controversial human rights record and military actions in Yemen.